From the January 2002 issue of Startups

Unhappy that his 1-year-old daughter had to go on a field trip with her day-care class, Chris Lipper made a deal: She could go only if she wore a temporary tattoo on her hand. "I saw no reason for a 1-year-old to go to the zoo-she wasn't going to get anything out of it, and I wasn't happy with the [student/teacher] ratio," explains Lipper, 37. "I decided I would put a tattoo on her as a way of identifying her so that if [she] ended up missing, we could say, 'We're looking for a small child-she has a tattoo on her right hand.' "

Lipper had been working with temporary tattoos since 1995, when his Morristown, New Jersey-based Chris Co. Inc. began making tattoo hang tags for clothing companies. In addition to the temporary tattoos for children, known as TICs (Teaching Innocent Children), the company is currently developing a line of medicated tattoos called Med Tats.

Chris Co. packages TICs with identification cards and safety flashcards that teach children about water, sports, fire and other safety issues. Once a child masters the skills on a safety card, they earn a temporary tattoo that acts as both a reward and an identifying mark.

TICs are currently available through Chris Co.'s Web site. Lipper, who is looking for individuals to license the TIC brand for distribution, had hoped to sell the cards at toy and drugstores, but he's now focusing most of his time on Med Tats. Still, Lipper believes in the TIC idea: "Anything that teaches children safety is a good idea," he says. "There's definitely somebody out there who could run with this and do a great job."