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Need something to alert my family about my son if something happens to me

cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
I'm a single father to a 3 year old, and my biggest fear is that if something were to happen to me, my son would be left all alone in our home and no one would know about it. Does anyone know of a web application that will send out an email to family/friends if you don't respond to a check-in email?

MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42

Posts

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    There's this digital dead man's switch.

    I have never used the service before so I can't speak to how reliable it is.

    Aside from that service - I know that not enough people, including myself, do this, but: you should always let someone know when you are going somewhere and where that somewhere is, even if it's just to work each day, and arrange for a check-up phone call. It's easy enough to do these days.

    In your case, give the person specific instructions to call you, and if they can't reach you, to immediately do [X] to make sure your son is in good care in the meantime.

    EDIT:

    ...Hm. I just tried out Deadmansswitch.net, and honestly it's a piss poor service. You can't customize it to have reasonable intervals of contact, and it only sends out the distress e-mail 1 day after, which is ridiculous.

    This app looks more promising, if you have an Android phone.

    There's also Deadman.io.

    The Ender on
    With Love and Courage
  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    Maybe you need more regular social contact with other parents, so that people would miss you, say if you didn't turn up to playdates.

    Relying on a dead man's switch seems likely to result in hilarious consequences if you forgot to check your email for a day (maybe a crisis comes up.)

    Perhaps you could schedule regular chats with family members? Maybe 5 minutes a day with your son & his grandparents? Most grandparents would love that especially if you don't live in the same city!

  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    I have to second focusing on the social angle. Imagine how often you missing a phone call or text. If it happens more than never, you are looking an nuisance alarms for whoever you would notify. I completely get your fears, as I have them too even without being a single parent.

  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    Thanks for the suggestions. I just recently moved into a new area, which makes the social thing hard. I've decided to use the Deadman.io service, as it lets me define a reasonable timeframe for response, as well as define the text of the email that goes out to my backup. I check my email on a daily basis, and Deadman.io gives me a 48 hour window before it sends off the email to my designated backup person.

    I am going to try to make more social connections, but its a bit hard for me. I'm a bit academic/geekish, and the neighborhood I'm in is VERY military. A church was suggested as a good place to establish a social network, but unfortunately the nearest church that is compatible to me is about an hour away.

    I'm going through a bit of a rough patch, and the thought of having a backup helps me sleep better at night.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
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  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Thanks for the suggestions. I just recently moved into a new area, which makes the social thing hard. I've decided to use the Deadman.io service, as it lets me define a reasonable timeframe for response, as well as define the text of the email that goes out to my backup. I check my email on a daily basis, and Deadman.io gives me a 48 hour window before it sends off the email to my designated backup person.

    I am going to try to make more social connections, but its a bit hard for me. I'm a bit academic/geekish, and the neighborhood I'm in is VERY military. A church was suggested as a good place to establish a social network, but unfortunately the nearest church that is compatible to me is about an hour away.

    I'm going through a bit of a rough patch, and the thought of having a backup helps me sleep better at night.

    Just FYI, so are plenty of people in the military. It's not just Pattons all the way down.

    Cliff on
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  • MulletudeMulletude Registered User regular
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Thanks for the suggestions. I just recently moved into a new area, which makes the social thing hard. I've decided to use the Deadman.io service, as it lets me define a reasonable timeframe for response, as well as define the text of the email that goes out to my backup. I check my email on a daily basis, and Deadman.io gives me a 48 hour window before it sends off the email to my designated backup person.

    I am going to try to make more social connections, but its a bit hard for me. I'm a bit academic/geekish, and the neighborhood I'm in is VERY military. A church was suggested as a good place to establish a social network, but unfortunately the nearest church that is compatible to me is about an hour away.

    I'm going through a bit of a rough patch, and the thought of having a backup helps me sleep better at night.

    I'm also a single dad of a 3 year old and this thread addressed the same concern for me, so thank you for making it.

    Good luck man, I know it can be tough doing this on your own and at the same time being scared of what might happen if something happened to you.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Teach your son how to use a phone. Being able to call 911 is a very useful skill for a child. 3 is a bit on the young side but you might be able to slowly ease him into the concept of reading and memorizing numbers and using a phone (and that it's used for emergencies, not a toy). If you are weary about him making crank calls have him learn granny's (or whoever is willing) number instead. Just make it a daily lesson where you call them up and have him dial the number for you.

    Siska on
  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    My son just turned 3, so some of the phone skills are a bit beyond him still. However, he can use the sink on his own, and I put the cereal in Tupperware containers on the bottom of the pantry closet where he can access them and eat them. I'm going to take down the rails on his crib soon (he still hasn't climbed out), and I'm going to remove the child locks on his bedroom door. So if something happens to me, he can fend for himself for a few days.

    In terms of the military neighborhood, its mostly noob Marines and their families, which can make things interesting. I work with some former Marines, and they're fairly academic (though much older and with their kids almost fully grown). We have some interesting conversations about DUI UAVs.

    What I think I'll also do is also make sure my local HR person has my emergency contact info, so if I don't show up for work, they know whom to contact.

    And OMG, another single dad with a full-time kid. Since embarking on this single parenthood thing three years ago, I have yet to meet another single dad.

    Is there a single parent, or even a Parenting thread on PA? There are times I could really use some on-hand parenting advice.

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
    Minecraft - ArtfulDodger42
  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Siska wrote: »
    Teach your son how to use a phone. Being able to call 911 is a very useful skill for a child. 3 is a bit on the young side but you might be able to slowly ease him into the concept of reading and memorizing numbers and using a phone (and that it's used for emergencies, not a toy). If you are weary about him making crank calls have him learn granny's (or whoever is willing) number instead. Just make it a daily lesson where you call them up and have him dial the number for you.

    I am picturing some sort of Life Alert scenario where cshadow42 leaves it in reach when he is out of the house. Unfortunately it ends with the entire company plotting to kill him so they can fucking sleep :P.

    But yes, this will all be irrelevant as soon the kid will be able to contact people whether dad wants him to or not. But stone cold 3 is still pretty helpless, so something like a deadman's switch is probably very reasonable paranoia insurance for now.

    Cliff on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2013
    cshadow42 wrote: »
    Is there a single parent, or even a Parenting thread on PA? There are times I could really use some on-hand parenting advice.

    There is totally a kid thread in SE.

    ceres on
    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Siska wrote: »
    Teach your son how to use a phone. Being able to call 911 is a very useful skill for a child. 3 is a bit on the young side but you might be able to slowly ease him into the concept of reading and memorizing numbers and using a phone (and that it's used for emergencies, not a toy). If you are weary about him making crank calls have him learn granny's (or whoever is willing) number instead. Just make it a daily lesson where you call them up and have him dial the number for you.

    ^ I really agree with this ^

    If 9-1-1 isn't something you think he could memorize, just teach him 0 for the operator. That was the first thing my parents ever taught me about the phone: dial zero, tell the operator that there was a fire / stranger / other bad thing, listen to what the operator had to say.

    With Love and Courage
    LaOs
  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    Siska wrote: »
    Teach your son how to use a phone. Being able to call 911 is a very useful skill for a child. 3 is a bit on the young side but you might be able to slowly ease him into the concept of reading and memorizing numbers and using a phone (and that it's used for emergencies, not a toy). If you are weary about him making crank calls have him learn granny's (or whoever is willing) number instead. Just make it a daily lesson where you call them up and have him dial the number for you.

    ^ I really agree with this ^

    If 9-1-1 isn't something you think he could memorize, just teach him 0 for the operator. That was the first thing my parents ever taught me about the phone: dial zero, tell the operator that there was a fire / stranger / other bad thing, listen to what the operator had to say.

    Absolutely. Burn 911 into the child's head. He'll pick it up fairly quick, I'm certain. And my father went as far to teach me a "safety phrase" if I should ever need to tell him I need help without being obvious. Paranoid, likely, but you know how dads get about their baby cub. The phrase was "grandpa wants to go fishing" which would let him know, discretely, if I needed help of any kind.

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  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    My wife and I also talked about this - our daughter is 3 1/2, and we talked about getting a land line in case she had to call for help. They make phones that have an 'emergency' button that will automatically call 911 / you can program to call a specific number, that way your son won't actually need to memorize any numbers. At 3, they should be able to understand emergencies and only calling when they really need help, etc. Honestly - it's not that unusual for a kid to make one 911 call when they are learning - it'll give you something to laugh about when they are older.

    If you are really concerned about this and need something to sleep well / peace of mind, look into the Life Alert system (yes, the old person one). If it's anything like what my Grandma had, they will give you a 'base' that has an 'Emergency' button on it, so your son can just push the button if something happens / he needs help. It also does periodic check-ins, so every so many hours / every day you'll need to just press a button on the base to confirm you're present / fine. If you don't check-in, they will call the local police and have someone sent out to your house.

    Now, if you have a specific concern, like you are epileptic or something, I think you can get a 'watch type' alert button that has a shock sensor in it. That way, if you fall it will automatically signal for help, and if you are injured and can't reach the base you can just push the button.

    That will probably cover everything, and be workable even if your son is a bit too young to call 911 on his own.

    The big thing is getting the police to your house so your son is in responsible adult hands until things get straightened out. Program ICE numbers into your phone for your family, and keep an 'In Case of Emergency' card w/ numbers on your fridge and in your wallet. Those are the first places the police will check if they show up or there is an emergency. You may even want to see if you can register emergency contacts with your local police department so they are on file.

    This is tangental, but something you should also do is have someone local (if your family is hours away) you trust to care for your son - a co-worker, person at church / their school, babysitter / neighbor, etc. You should also have your care / guardianship desires written up so the people you want him to be with have the legal grounds they need to keep / watch him and get custody in case something happens to you. I don't know what the situation is with his mother / her family, but having that prepared for your family / chosen caregiver could be very important if there is a battle.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Edit: Nvm, I read this wrong. OP is talking about, like, if something happens to him at night.

    spool32 on
  • davidsdurionsdavidsdurions Your Trusty Meatshield Panhandle NebraskaRegistered User regular
    That's an excellent question, but I think we're assuming this is a situation where he is watching his boy and something happens to him while he's the only person around. Slip and fall taking the garbage out kind of situation.

    Right?

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
    spool32
  • zagdrobzagdrob Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    spool32 wrote: »
    Wait, I don't understand.

    Who is watching your 3yr old when you are not around?

    I took it to be 'we're home alone, I fall down the stairs & break my neck / have a massive heart attack and die / etc' sort of thing. His 3 year old is alone in the house with his unconscious / dead body, and nobody knows to come and check in on them until Monday when they don't show up to work / daycare.

    My wife and I spent quite a bit of time on this while my daughter was small and I was home with her - I'm epileptic, so having a seizure and my daughter being alone all day until my wife came home was a concern (even though I'm fully treated). We settled on regularly texting / e-mailing throughout the day, but his circumstances are a bit different.

    zagdrob on
    spool32
  • cshadow42cshadow42 Registered User regular
    I tried the Deadman switch web application, but it quickly failed.
    I signed up, and set it so that it sends emails 24 hours after my last check-in, and if 24 hours goes by after they send me the check-in email, they release a predefined email to a designated person.
    It sent me one email on 7/27, to which I replied to per the instructions. However, I didn't get any subsequent emails, and on 7/29 it send out my predefined email.
    I'm pretty upset, because if you're promising a service that people rely on for things of major importance, you need to debug it (and my scenario was a very basic test scenario), or tell people if it is still in beta. Needless to say, I left some harsh feedback.

    A landline with an emergency button is a good idea. Life Alert may be too extreme, though I'll look into it. I'm trying to cover the situations in which I'm incapacitated instantly and don't have time to signal Life Alert.

    Yeah, I'm probably being paranoid, and I've lasted 3 years as a single parent without any problems. But this is a reoccurring worry for me, and since I'm further from my support system, a little piece of mind would be great.

    What would be great is if there was a SW application that monitors your computer usage and reports to a server every so often that everything is ok. If you don't use your computer for a predefined amount of time (Example: a day), it will fail to check in with a central server, which triggers an emergency email. The application runs in the background, so you don't have to worry about pushing a button on a regular basis. And I use my computer very regularly.

    Yesterday I took the railings off my son's crib and converted it to a kiddie bed (thanks IKEA). He now has the ability to roam the house at will, so if something happens to me he can probably fend for himself for several days. I figured it was about time. Thankfully, I have multiple means of keeping him from escaping outside (alarm system, chain lock, bolt lock).

    MTGO Handle - ArtfulDodger
    Diablo 3 - ArtfulDodger#1572
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  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    That sucks; sorry about the bad lead, OP.

    I'm kind of surprised at the lack of decent applications for this sort of thing.

    With Love and Courage
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Seems you're trying to set up complicated technology where a bit of simple human interaction will do the job much more reliably.

    Tell someone you know and trust at work (like say your boss) that you have a kid so if you unexpectedly don't turn up they need to try and contact you and if that fails, alert the authorities/this designated number I am giving you. Then you just have to make sure they have your contact details (which they should do anyway) and you're fine.

    In the absolute worst scenario of you keeling over 6pm on Friday and nobody knowing until Monday, can't you just get into the habit of texting your parents or some other family on the weekend? Not 'I'm still alive!' but just general chatting? Let them know about your paranoia and they'll happily help you soothe it by keeping up regular contact.

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    TheCanMan
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