Mother's Day ICE Hankie




Last August, my father passed away in an ER after fainting on the street. He had been robbed of his cell phone and wallet. The doctor worked on him quickly, bringing him back from death at one point with a hard punch to the chest, but he was gone in a very short time. He lived alone, so no one picked up when they called his home. The number he gave for his closest friend and neighbor was written on a napkin amongst his belongings. Whoever wrote it down as his emergency contact on his admittance form, reversed the last two digits of the phone number so no one knew of his death for days. Just before he was to be turned over to the city morgue and buried in Potters Field, the City Medical Officer tried Directory Information for my fathers friend telephone number. While it was shocking and sad to find out he died alone days after the event, at least we were able to give him a proper burial.
This event gave me the idea for my Mothers Day present. It may seem macabre or morbid to anticipate a medical emergency, but if it does happen to my mother, I want to be informed as soon as possible. Many people have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number programmed into their cell phones. Others carry emergency contact numbers and important instructions. My own mother has a medic alert bracelet. But what if, like my father, your mother had her wallet or cell phone go missing?
Voila! Enter the ICE handkerchief. Light and small enough to tuck into a pocket or purse. I have created several versions so there is bound to be one for every level of sewing skill and nothing says, I love you Mom, more than a promise to be there no matter what.

Step 1: Gather the Important Medical Information About Your Mother:

a. Full name
b. Date of birth
c. Contact numbers for you and her doctor
d. Diseases or conditions
e. Current medication or supplements
f. Allergies
g. Insurance company policy but not individual ID number (no social security number either to avoid the risk of ID theft)
h. Hospital stays or surgeries

Step 2: Type These Up on a Document

Step 3: Print on Special Iron-on Paper.

Remember to change print settings so it will flip the image horizontally.

Step 4: Alternate Step 3

Print directly onto treated fabric suitable for your printer. Inkjet printers often have ink that dissolves in water so these require specially pretreated fabrics sold in many craft stores. Laser printer inks are usually waterproof so you can print directly onto fabric. Just iron the fabric to a piece of letter sized freezer paper to give it some stability. Skip step 5 and go to step 6.

Step 5: Iron Onto a Lightweight Fabric

Embroider the letters and numbers.

Step 6: Sew a Backing

with a second piece of fabric that has a reversible pocket.

Step 7: Fold Entire Hankie Into the Small Pocket

It should tuck in nicely and protect your handiwork. Make sure the ICE is visible.

Step 8: Easy Short-cut Method

If you have even limited sewing skills, just sew a small pouch out of a PVC lined fabric, write ICE on it in permanent marker, and insert a folded paper copy of the medical information.

Runner Up in the
Mother's Day Contest

Participated in the
Mother's Day Contest



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    30 Discussions

    My sister has an embroidery machine. I'm sure it would turn out a quick hankie with legible info. Much more readable than my first attempt at embroidery would be! Thanks for the Instructable!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks so much but voting ended. It is in the judges hands now.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    great Idea for anyone--not just moms. I just recently let my husband know about ICE for his cell's amazing how little contact info we carry even with all the technology!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is truly one of the best products anyone could think of.....I have been using ICE for my youngster and my spouse also uses it but I never thought about using the hankie for disabled individuals and older parents.....fabulous and wonderful. whoever thought of this is brilliant. Thank you, again, Mary M from New York City

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I have to make one for myself. Thank you for your support!


    My mother's phone was stolen from her while she was in the ER! This is a great idea for kids too. In fact, we should probably all carry one. Well done!

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I wish I could make them but it is such a personal labor of love!