A Code-Word for a Child's SOS Message to Parent

Crime-Safety-Security.com Newsletter


[ML - I’ve condensed and clarified a lengthy e-mail thread (and reformatted it to read oldest to newest) to the following:]

On Mon Jun 16 19:15:52 2008, the following results were submitted from the "Contact Us" on crime-safety-security.com:
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Name: Dr. Pam Grossman
E-mail Address: Developer @ PrismSafety.com
Country: United States
Comments: Dear Michael,

Your website is a wonderful safety tool. Thought you might want to evaluate the following idea, and if you find it useful, please feel free to incorporate it in your materials.

Below is an article I included earlier this year in our own safety newsletter, and you are welcome to use it. The credit really goes to "Leo R. Palmer", former officer of the LAPD (my deceased father and sorely missed best friend). I'm not including it for the sake of a cross-link reference.

Bless you. Please let me know if we may ever be of service.
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Do you have a teen at home beginning to get around on his/her own, maybe babysitting or socializing with other young people? What if someday, he/she finds that they are depending on a ride home with someone they do not feel comfortable alone with, or who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Simple example, babysitting for a couple, depending on one of them to drive home with, and finding they are not safe. It may be 2 o'clock in the morning, and it is tough for a teen to say to their "employer", "Gosh, I'm sorry, I know you were going to drive me home, but you're drunk and I don't want to get in a car with you." Not only would the "customer" be insulted, but if they ARE under the influence, this could become an unpleasant physical confrontation. (You can substitute for this a situation where a party that was scheduled as harmless and supervised, turns into something altogether different, and your teen is not comfortable staying, but doesn't have a convenient and safe way to get home.)

Solution: Have a Code Word that means: "I don't feel safe. Please come get me." One practical suggestion is for them to say the following: "Gosh, --- Mr. Ms. Jones --- Fred, Cindy [fill in name here] --- I'm really not feeling well. I started feeling ill a couple hours ago and, um, I'm not sure if I'd get carsick in your car. I'd hate to have that happen. Let me just call home for a ride." No one in the world, under the influence or not, wants to see their car soiled with sick. The youngster calls home asking for a ride because they do not feel well, and USES THE CODE WORD. The one in my house, for this exact situation was, in fact, the word "vomit." It fit neatly in the scenario, is not a common word in everyday conversation, would tend to wake up a sleepy parent (as perhaps at 2 a.m.), and reinforces the entire escape with anyone listening in. Upon use of that word over the phone, a parent knows to ask no more questions, just get the address, and go pick up the youngster.

However you work out the details of a Code Word for SOS Escape, sit down with your youngsters and discuss this technique. It can greatly enhance their safety and your peace of mind.

Also see SOS Distress Signals


Crime-Safety-Security > Newsletter Archive > newsletter-22-Jul-08