A caring Father has taken to Reddit to ask if anyone has ever tattooed their twins to tell them apart.

The most important detail –  not because they don’t want to call them by the wrong names, but because it may be a matter of life and death.

Thrwydad wrote on Reddit – “My wife and I have two very premature twin boys. There is no difference between them apart from Aaron having very serious health issues, requiring him to have medication every 4 hours. If he doesn’t have his medication it leads to significant consequences.

The boys are 12 months old and are completely identical. Even me and my wife can’t tell them apart and have been drawing on Adams arm every day with permanent marker (Aaron has very sensitive skin and we don’t want to irritate it). This backfired when the twins were at grandmas and after a bath rubbed off the texta, grandma accidently gave Aaron’s medication to Adam. Adam ended up very sick and Aaron in hospital for a week. This is a serious extreme situation and I don’t want to take this risk again. We have had other mix ups with the boys but it has never wound up this bad.

We have tried other things but nothing else worked as well as the texta for numerous reasons-nail polish, bracelet, anklets, specific colour clothes for each boy, shaving ones head and having the others long..

We are after a more permanent solution. I read online about someone tattooing a single dot on one of their twins and also about piercing ears. I really hate to say it but we are here. I need to do something permanent. I could have lost both my sons last weekend and I’m desperate. I am only after permanent solutions. 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.”

reddit tattoo

Most responses have been very supportive, offering a solution that helps Thrwydad tells his boys apart and keep them safe and well.

“When I saw the title of this post, I thought “who the hell would tattoo their kid??”, but after reading how serious mixing them up can be, I absolutely think it’s justified. The short term pain of a small dot tattoo is much better than losing one of them. I wouldn’t hesitate to do the same thing in your situation.” one member wrote.

Another user commented – “I’m not sure about with babies, but I know on adults tattoos done on the feet and palms don’t usually last permanently (because of the kind of skin). So a small tattoo on the heel of the foot would be almost unnoticeable even if it didn’t fade like an adult’s tattoo”

One mum suggested – “Hello! I have identical twins. In desperate, frantic times, when I felt like a horrible mother when I couldn’t immediately determine which twin was which, (my girls have tells if you search for them), I just painted their toe nails, each with their own colors.”

The support kept coming – “I’ve heard of people tattooing dots on the bottom of the toes of multiples. It’s only semi-permanent since foot tattoo tend to wear off because of friction.”

“I would do the tattoo. My cousin has a small tattoo on his chest that he got when he had cancer as a child to mark for radiation treatment. I bring this up because you may be able to get the tattoo in a medical setting. Ask your Ped about it.”

Have you ever been in a similar situation?

Share your comments below.

Image via Getty

  • A doctor may do it for medical reasons. Headline sounded bad but this seems justifiable


  • it must be hard while they are so little!


  • I true case of …dont judge until you have all the facts…
    I have often wondered how parents of twins or more can tell them apart and how do you know 100% that the child that started life as John at some point didnt get mixed up and then you started calling him David and David became john???
    I do think that a small tattoo makes perfect sense. Its not like the dad has an idea for a huge dragon tattoo or anything silly and as one person said ..its very possible they can get it done by a Doctor.


  • I woulnt normally support this kind of extreme idea. but in this setting i would fully support that idea. but i would suggest that it is the simplest of dots etc. but somewhere that even people like teachers can spot down the track. like on the iside of the wrist etc.. Its a easy way to tell them apart for years and as you stated could save there life one day..


  • No I have never been in this situation. I think the nail polish idea is a great one


  • I’d never thought of a situation like this. I think a tattoo is a feasible and safe solution. I remember being at school with identical twins and the only way I could tell them apart was a mole on their neck and the colour of the rubber bands they had on their dental braces. When they wanted to cause trouble, they’d change the rubber bands, or swap places in the classroom. Their mum eventually started cutting their hair differently.


  • I have never heard of tattooing kids but it sounds like a feasible solution for this family. It would be absolutely horrible for any mix ups to happen again with a different outcome!


  • A tattoo for the child who doesn’t have sensitive skin may be an option.
    At some point they could find that one or both are allergic to some metals so ear piercing may not be a suitable solution. The holes will close and scarring will probably disappear if the holes aren’t kept open for quite some time. If a tattoo is put in the right place it shouldn’t disappear. Just 2 small natural looking spots (not where you are likely to get freckles) could be a very good option. Even if they wore closed in shoes all the time I would be reluctant to use nail polish because of the chemicals in it. When they are old enough to understand, I suggest the one with the medical problem wears a medical bracelet on pendant. That can be lifesaving in an medical emergency. In the unfortunate event of an accident there needs to be a quick way of identifying each child-especially in your situation. You need to carry details with you at all times. With the medication your little boy is on there could be dangerous interactions with other medications. Personally, I would also ask your GP /treating specialist for the little one for a letter that can be checked by other medical professionals. It is easy to become confused when giving full medical history in an emergency. Whatever identification you choose your child, ask for it to be stated in the letter. Both parents and anybody else who cares for your child shoud have a copy of the letter in case it is needed. This includes the school +an extra copy for the child’s teacher when your child is ready to start school….or any activities. It should list child’s full name and date of birth, the condtion – treatment for it – any known allergies – next of kin details including phone number. I would check with your doctor whether there a way of registering these details with an organisation that can be contacted in an emergency. You could contact the Medic Alert Foundation and see if they have anything suitable for your baby. They don’t charge for advice but you do have to pay for products that you use.


  • I think a small tattoo mark might be the quickest and easiest solution.


  • A very unique and tricky situation. I hope they come up with a good, sustainable solution.


  • I think that it would be acceptable in this situation as long as it’s done in the proper setting


  • Tricky if they have sensitive skin too! Nail polish on a toe was a good suggestion. Even different haircuts may help once their hair grown a bit. Pretty scary circumstances!


  • Wow… my initial reaction to this story’s title is probably the same as a lot of peoples but after reading it I am in support of this family doing what they need to in order to ensure the health and safety of their boys.


  • In a situation like theirs a small discrete tattoo maybe the answer and I’m sure if they get medical support this can be done.


  • I agree with all the comments……get one of them tattooed with something simple in an obvious but subtle place. I like the idea of a “fake mole” on the hand. I am not a fan of tattoos but when it’s a life and death situation for both boys I think it’s important. Good luck!


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