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Rafael Nadal wearing yellow wrist bands during a tennis match.
A white terrycloth wristband on an arm, next to a blue silicone wristband.

Wristbands are encircling strips worn on the wrist, made from a variety of materials depending on the purpose. The term can be used to refer to the bracelet-like band of a wristwatch, to the cuff or other part of a sleeve that covers the wrist, or to decorative or functional bands worn on the wrist for other reasons, such as lanyards.

One type of wristband is also known as a sweatband, and is usually made of a towel-like terrycloth material. These are usually used to wipe sweat from the forehead during sport, or as a badge or fashion statement. A practice common in mid-1980s punk subculture was to cut the top off of a sock and fashion the elastic into this type of wristband.

Another common type of wristband is the loops of plastic that are placed around the wrist for identification purposes (demonstrating the wearer's authorization to be at a venue, for example).

Silicone wristbands[edit]

The Make Poverty History white wristband and a red Christian band.
Main article: Gel bracelet

In the early-to-mid-2000s (decade), bracelets often made of silicone became popular. They are worn to demonstrate the wearer's support of a cause or charitable organization, similar to awareness ribbons. Such wristbands are sometimes called awareness bracelets to distinguish them from other types of wristbands. In early 2007 the 1" became an increasingly popular item being sold as merchandise at concerts & sporting events worldwide. The wristbands bearing official logos or trademarks enabled the seller to offer a low price point merchandise option to fans.

UV ultra violet wristbands[edit]

UV Ultra Violet Sensitive silicone wristbands appear clear/white when out of UV light, but when exposed to ultra violet light such as sunlight the wristbands' color changes to blue or fuchsia. These bands can be used as reminders for people to apply sunscreen or stay in the shade on hot summer days.

Hospital wristbands[edit]

Example of hospital wristband

Hospital wristbands are a commonly used safety device for identifying patients undergoing medical care. Available in a variety of sizes to accommodate patients as small as newborns and as large as obese adults, hospital wristbands can be handwritten, embossed, laser-printed or thermal-imaged with names, pictures, medical record numbers, barcodes and other personal identifiers.

Laser printing and thermal imaging—the most advanced technologies for personalizing hospital wristbands—support fonts, colors and barcodes for improved patient safety through electronic patient and medication tracking. Handwritten and embossed wristbands remain in widespread use, however, despite findings on compromised safety reported in 2007. The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) found that as many as 2,900 patients each year were receiving the wrong medical care because of the hospital staff's inability to read damaged or otherwise illegible patient information on handwritten and embossed wristbands.[1]

Event wristbands[edit]

A festival wristband

Colored wristbands are often given to attendees at events such as music festivals and gigs, as an access control measure. Counterfeit wristbands are increasingly common.[2][3] Some people keep the wristbands as souvenirs or wear the wristbands after the event to show what events they went to.[4] Further uses for the wristband in event ticketing at music festivals and sporting events may include an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip that would allow contactless payment at the concessions and turnstiles. Wristbands are ideal to use for dark environments such as night clubs and bars or outdoor venues where patrons can be afar such as festivals and theme parks.

Individual Custom Wristbands[edit]

In the early days, a customer had to purchase thousands of bands at a time, which made it prohibitive to customers who only wanted one bracelet. Reminderband, Inc. was one of the original pioneering companies that introduced custom bands in quantities as few as one. This revolutionized the industry. Soon after, other companies embraced this idea, and now there are hundreds of companies selling individual bands.

See also[edit]