This Dad Wants to Give His Baby a Tattoo, and It’s Actually Not a Terrible Idea

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baby-tattooThere are not a whole lot of cases where tattooing a child–especially a baby–is a good idea, but one father is thinking about it, and it’s not a terrible idea.

Theresa Edwards over at She Knows Parenting found this Reddit thread where a father was asking for advice about using a tattoo to tell his newborn identical twins apart. That might sound a bit extreme, but he says one twin has medical issues that require him to have medicine every few hours, and the other twin does not. In spite of that difference, they look exactly the same, and the parents can’t even reliably tell them apart.

The father says he’s tried nail polish, different haircuts, and more, but nothing worked as well as just drawing on one twin’s arm every day with permanent marker. That was working well until recently when a grandmother bathed the kids and the mark rubbed off, and then the wrong twin got the medicine, which has serious and potentiallly life-threatening consequences. The twin who was not supposed to get the medicine wound up very sick, and the one who was supposed to get it had to be hospitalized for a week after he didn’t get the medicine he was supposed to.

“I need to do something permanent,” the father wrote. “I could have lost both my sons last weekend and I’m desperate. … believe me when I say we have tried everything else before and it didn’t work. Please help me. I don’t want to lose my boy.”

A tattoo is not a bad idea in this case. A tiny dot somewhere inconspicuous would l be a permanent means of identifying which baby is which, and it can’t be removed or flake off or wash away.

Medical tattoos are a thing for a reason, and if an innocent grandmother bath could nearly kill one of the twins, it seems like it might be a good idea here to talk to a doctor about getting one. A tiny dot on one twin’s hip or someplace inconspicuous seems like a reasonable option when facing a life-or-death situation like this one. If a mistake could kill one or both of his babies, it makes sense that these parents want to eliminate any possibility of a mistake like that happening. If that means tattooing a tiny dot on one of the babies, that seems pretty reasonable to me.

(Photo: LisaValder/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)