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Medicine Technology

Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use 327

First time accepted submitter Zotonian writes My wife is epileptic. Her seizures have been well controlled by medication until recently. My concern is that we have a toddler and infant at home. I've set up cameras so I can monitor the house, but I'm looking for a solution that my 2 year old daughter can hit a button to tell me to look at them if necessary. Most of the options I'm finding off the shelf notify first responders and I'm concerned of the number of false positives a toddler might initiate. Other solutions like cellphones or wearables for kids are too overloaded with unnecessary options like GPS, phone, games, etc. I'd rather have a simple 'push button' solution I can wire into my router that would send me a text or chat message that alerts me to check the cameras. Then if there is an actually emergency I can take the steps from there. I'm looking for cheap and simple. Any suggestions from the Slashdot community?
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Ask Slashdot: Panic Button a Very Young Child Can Use

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:04PM (#49034077)

    How about a smartwatch for the wife. Make a little app the detects erratic arm movements and sends you a text message from her phone when that happens. Then you check in on the camera .

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:17PM (#49034183)

      Go to eBay and type "wireless panic button". There are plenty of options for under $100. Here is a panic button + watch [ebay.com] that sends an SMS message to up to 5 numbers.

  • It's a bit heavyweight, but SmartThings has a panic button and via an IFTT integration can SMS you when it's pushed.

  • The bttn (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:09PM (#49034107)

    This product may be what you are looking for

    http://bt.tn/

    A big red button connected to the net that can do whatever you want

    • by fhage ( 596871 )

      This product may be what you are looking for

      http://bt.tn/

      A big red button connected to the net that can do whatever you want

      This. I was thinking a Raspberry Pi stuffed inside a Staples "Easy Button".

      • Yeah.. I'm thinking use the GPIO on the Pi to kick off a script that takes a picture (either from one of the existing cameras, or the camera module on the PI) and sends you an image of the button getting pressed... and maybe some others as well..

        There's a lot of info on programming the Pi with GPIO, and a handy little python library waiting to go..

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        you know what's funny? raspberry pi is cheaper...

        bt.tn is a nice plastic design if you like '80s design and colors though. but for being a connected button it really is expensive.

  • Arduino Panic Button (Score:5, Interesting)

    by netelder ( 41 ) * on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:10PM (#49034113)

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Desk-Panic-Button/?ALLSTEPS

  • No (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nobody on these forums can offer you legal advice but what you're asking sounds like a good way to get your kid taken away.

  • A spot messenger is fairly simple and enables you to locate them wherever they may be.

    http://www.findmespot.com/en/i... [findmespot.com]

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      The problem is that the Spot has more than just the one button. There is a button that sends the equivalent of "OMG MY PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO AN AVALANCHE ON A VOLCANO AND O GOD SEND THE RESCUE SQUADS NOW!!!" to whatever emergency agency is available. Not the kind of thing you ought to place in your two-year-old child's hands.

  • They make an plugin alarm that notifies you via cellphone when a power interruption occurs (and when it is restored).

    Wire it through a light switch (to an outlet) at a height your toddler can comfortably reach. Your home may already have a switchleg-activated plug for table lighting.

  • Smartthings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FF-Loucks ( 1671330 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:15PM (#49034169)
    Get a hub and a door/window sensor or the starter kit. Put the door / window sensor on a cabinet door and tell your daughter to open that door if mommy has a problem (you could put a teddy bear or something in there that she should take to mommy ONLY if mommy is having issues). Then, using the smart app, you can have that alert you anytime the cabinet is opened. Should be less than $150 or so and now you have the start of home automation as well.
  • http://supermechanical.com/twi... [supermechanical.com]

    Comes with a 0-4G vibration sensor, can be extended with other sensors in the future if you want to repurpose it later.

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:18PM (#49034207)

    You're asking for a kind of button that will make it possible to rely upon a 2-year-old child as a caretaker. This is not a technology problem, and unless someone finds a way to accelerate human development of children to an alarming rate, it's not a solvable one either. And I have to say, what you're proposing seems like an inherently risky situation...to your wife and child both. Your wife runs the risk of your not being alerted, and I can't even guess what it would do to a child to have that kind of responsibility, especially if she doesn't hit the button for whatever reason, and ends up haunted by that for the rest of your life.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:45PM (#49034409) Journal

      Yeah, except all he's *really* asking for here is an additional way to get notified if something's wrong, so he could take a look for himself via an internet connected camera.

      This wouldn't (shouldn't) be about trying to use a 2 year old as a caretaker. The way I'm reading this, he just wants an extra fail-safe in place. (I think even a 2 year old is mentally functional enough to realize something's wrong with mom if she suddenly falls to the floor, flails around and acts generally unresponsive. It would probably make the kid feel better, not worse, if he or she knew simply pressing a button would be a way to communicate "help!".)

      One of our kids used to have seizures (he's been free of them for a couple of years now while taking medication), and his younger sister, around age 2-3, was able to come tell us when it happened to him, if he was up in his room and we didn't notice it immediately.

      • Yeah, except all he's *really* asking for here is an additional way to get notified if something's wrong, so he could take a look for himself via an internet connected camera.

        The way I'm reading this, he just wants an extra fail-safe in place.

        Since he didn't specify the existence of a primary method of notification... it's an assumption that he's looking for an additional or extra method of notification.

        • ... it's an assumption that he's looking for an additional or extra method of notification.

          But not an unreasonable one, if he's conscientious enough to reach the point where he's looking for something like this.

        • Since he didn't specify the existence of a primary method of notification [...]

          Which is why it's always a good idea to read the summary:

          I've set up cameras so I can monitor the house [...]

          Camera is primary system of notification. If he notices the wife flailing about, he can call appropriate people. If he doesn't notice because he's otherwise occupied, the child is a back-up.

          Reading: It's FUNdamental.

          As someone else said, before we got all this high-fallutin' technology, the solution would be to make an arrange with the nice lady next door so that if Mom is being unresponsive, the kid can go over there and get help.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        It's a 2 year old! Good grief, you have never been around a 2 year old before? A 2 year old is supposed to play and learn, not be responsible for the goddamn panic button if mom starts to die. (Yes, to a 2 year old no matter how severe the seizure it will be traumatic and appear to be mom dying).

        His "extra" fail safe" is a panic button on top of web cams. Where is the adult to make sure the 2 year old does not try to hug mommy when she is having convulsions. Which of course has the added bonus of possi

    • by DRJlaw ( 946416 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:49PM (#49034449)

      You're asking for a kind of button that will make it possible to rely upon a 2-year-old child as a caretaker.

      That's funny. I thought he was asking for a kind of button that would make it possible for his child to communicate with him as a backup measure, given the video surveillance and all.

      Of course you're free to argue that epileptics cannot be left unsupervised. Good luck with that.

      You're also free to argue that epileptic parents should not be allowed to be alone with their children since their children might be required to be "caretakers," whether via a button, a telephone capable of 911, or merely living within distance to run to a neighbor. Because we'd all support that.

      After all, this isn't an attempt to marginally improve a circumstance. This is an attempt to shift all responsibility for the parent's care onto the child. Not.

      • You're asking for a kind of button that will make it possible to rely upon a 2-year-old child as a caretaker.

        That's funny. I thought he was asking for a kind of button that would make it possible for his child to communicate with him as a backup measure, given the video surveillance and all.

        Well, you thought wrong - because he plainly states the purpose is to have the two year old alert him that he needs to check the video cameras and there is no indication of either the existence of a primary alert system

    • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @08:24PM (#49034731)

      Epilepsy isn't some debilitating condition that requires 24/7 care. Epileptics are fine most of the time, particularly if they control their seizures with medication. Most of them actually have productive lives, with stressful jobs, and manage to hold shit down. As a stay-at-home mom of very small children this guy's wife can control her risk factors (particularly her amount of sleep, when she takes medication, etc.) much better then somebody whose work-schedule changes every week, has lots of deadlines, etc.

      But if she does have a seizure it would be really bad because a) she'd be alone with nobody to call for help, and b) the kids would be alone.

      A two-year-old can easily understand when something's wrong with Mommy. Most two-year-olds will know something is wrong with Mommy before Mommy knows something is wrong with Mommy, particularly if she's a home-maker. If you're two, and you've got a stay-at-home-mom, she is your entire world. A two-year-old can understand "press this button." If the kid decides pressing the button is a good game there's no harm because the police haven't been called.

      • by s.petry ( 762400 )

        Epilepsy isn't some debilitating condition that requires 24/7 care.

        A TWO YEAR OLD DOES REQUIRE 24/7 CARE!!

        • I've read a couple of your posts on this topic now. It has become obvious that you don't have kids. 2 year olds don't require 24/7 care. They need risk mitigation strategies so that they can't easily fall down stairs, get access to sharp pointy objects or leave the building. Once you have those things the demands they have are generally desire related rather than critical need.

          Pretty much every parent has used the disney channel or equivalent to baby sit their kids while they go off and do something els

          • True. And a few other things.

            People keep mentioning. "Why don't you have the kid run next door to the neighbor and get them to get help?" Last time I checked, if they're smart (and independent) enough to go next door for help, they're more than capable of hitting a panic button. Secondly, hitting a panic button, dad checking the cameras, and dad reacting, is all probably going to happen a lot faster than kid running next door, kid ringing door bell, talking to neighbor, neighbor coming over, neighbor decidi

      • Epileptics are fine most of the time, particularly if they control their seizures with medication.

        But her seizures aren't under control. It's there in the first line of his post.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      It's really a lot more for the child than the parent, I would think. A way for the child to quickly contact her other parent.

  • It really depends upon the nature of the seizures. Rigidly locked in space or extreme spasms. So a motion detector that your wife can wear that can detect say laying on the ground rather than being vertical or detect rapid motions indicative of an attack. Greater care needs to be taken when holding the child or say cooking and how that is treated. These is also devices for detecting changes in blood pressure, breathing and pulse rate, so a more automated response is likely to be preferable, with a signal s

  • I designed one that was activated by a tank filling with fluid to a certain height. It then texted the delivery guy to come take the fluid. I can't give you my solution, it was very low level and simple based on local tech, and it wasn't a neat portable thing for your toddler to carry although it could be a panic button in the middle of the house. However, any competent hacker, er, I mean local technician, should be able to rig something together like this for you. A two year old can learn a lot and be quit

  • Instead of relying on a two year old that may not be capable (or even napping) of understanding the implications, you do this:
    Rig a system, perhaps a fairly short lanyard on your wifes non-dominant wrist that pulls a pin switch that is nearly certain to get pulled during a seizing event. Sure it is annoying, and prone to false positives, but she can cancel the false positives if she is okay.
  • Then write an app to monitor the accelerometer. Make some noise, connect to your wifi and send a chat message of some kind. False alarm? Take the opportunity to have a conversation with your wife ;).
  • But I can suggest that the best technology for this sort of thing is a stand-alone cellular modem, preferentially one that is on the same network as your cell phone. Wire the button into that and have it send a text message to your phone and to your gmail address.

    There are certainly cellular modems that work over a serial link and I assume there are devices you can buy off the shelf that will integrate the whole thing into a panic button type of interface. But I haven't researched all-in-one solutions so

  • There are technical solutions that your wife could press (if she is capable of some kind of "last action" when she feels the onset) or something that could even sensibly and automatically react to certain stimuli (like not being upright, i.e. lying on the floor, irregular heartbeat, motion sensors that can identify seizures, etc), but whatever you do, DO NOT put this burden on your kid.

    You are essentially asking for something that would allow you to make your kid the caretaker of your wife. That's something

    • You are essentially asking for something that would allow you to make your kid the caretaker of your wife.

      I'm seeing lots of people saying this, but I don't see it.

      I would think this would be a good thing for the child to know and have something to do if this happens. I'd imagine a two year-old watching Mommy convulsing on the floor and having no idea what to do would be far more traumatizing than knowing that she should immediately go press the big purple button and then wait by the phone for Daddy to call her (which he will do as soon as he's called 911).

      By the way, most of the issues with "parentification"

      • I'm really really concerned that the people on here don't give their kids any kind of emergency training.

        By giving your child a small amount of responsibility you are NOT turning them into primary care givers or causing parentification.

        My 4 year old knows how to call the police, ambulance and fire service. She knows which one to call and when. She knows how to unlock my wife's and my mobile and how to dial 000. She knows that it might happen that we are hurt and we can't do it and she knows she will neve

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @07:52PM (#49034475) Homepage

    I am guessing that he did not look very hard...

    http://www.amazon.com/LG-Veriz... [amazon.com]

    first hit after googleing "Cellphone for a small child"

    a child can easily learn that press 1 for daddy, 2 for mommy, 3 for grandma and if mommy needs help press the big red hand and tell the lady on the line our address.

    Otherwise for his wife there are a TON of systems that are panic buttons designed for people who have siezures.

    So, what does the question asker have against all the existing options?

    • That was my first thought as well, and I am shocked I had to scroll this far down before I saw someone else had posted it.

      He can just get a phone intended for young children, program all of the speed dial buttons to go directly to his line (the one you linked even allows the user to program the emergency button too), and enjoy the fact that he doesn't have to spend exorbitant amounts of time or money on a custom-built solution that may not have issues he's aware of until the time comes to actually use it. P

  • Get your wife an "I've fallen and I can't get up button" that she wears. Your wife is unlikely to false-trigger it, and if she's wearing it then your daughter is unlikely to, either. Tell your daughter to push it when there's trouble, and teach your wife to stop her from pushing it if she can. If she cannot, then there's something wrong. In fact, your wife can probably activate it herself when she feels a problem coming on.

    This means you don't have to snoop on your family using remote cameras. Certainly yo

  • bite the bullet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cascadingstylesheet ( 140919 ) on Wednesday February 11, 2015 @08:41PM (#49034871)

    It's very difficult having a spouse with a chronic illness. (I know.) Even harder when you have children.

    As much as it sucks, have her in child care as much as possible. Yes, it's horrifically expensive, it's not ideal, it's not what you envisioned (I assume, as much as you want to let her stay home with mom). But it makes sense.

    If it's your wife that you are primarily worried about, then you need to figure out what can help her. Can a neighbor check on her fairly frequently? Another family member? Also, I've seen devices advertised (primarily to elderly) which claim to be able to detect falls.

    For both - child and wife - check with local social workers about what is available. You may be eligible for subsidized child care due to the situation. Your wife may be eligible for some kinds of help.

    Hang in there, and don't be ashamed to reach out for help.

  • You can do this on a Mac easily enough, even easier on Windows. Let's presume Windows:

    Buy a USB "big red button" on Ebay for a few bucks. Not the "easy" kind, just the plain button. Plug it in to your computer, install the software that lets you script what the button does.

    Subscribe to one of those services that will send an SMS from your PC.

    Do a few minutes of scripting to get the button to send an SMS to your phone.

    Program your phone -- also pretty easy -- to blast an alarm when it gets that p
  • How about a one-button waterproof cell phone?

    I've read about phones where you program which number the phone calls, but I can't find any now. Maybe they are no longer sold.

    But here's a phone that calls some sort of operator, who can then decide how to handle the situation. You need to pay a monthly fee for the operator but I think that's better for a 2-year-old than a phone that just dials 911.

    http://www.greatcall.com/products/greatcall-splash [greatcall.com]

    If you could find a 1-button programmable phone, and program it

  • My wife is epileptic. Her seizures have been well controlled by medication until recently

    An infant, a toddler, and mother whose seizures are no longer under control.

    There are no technical solutions for a problem like this.
    You can not and must not ask a two year old to be caretaker for her mom. She is not there as a backup for your webcams or to care for your baby. This is a huge red flag for child protection services.

    What you need is are licensed home care aides or nurses, with full time coverage when you absent from the home. If you want to avoid institutionalization for your wife and kids t

  • The dog will warn your wife when the symptoms of a seizure are about to come on. This will give her enough time to act to ensure her safety & even call for help. Yes, ADA dogs are pricey, but since you post here, I am going to guess you can afford one to keep your wife safe. Plus it will make a good playmate for your 2 year old.

    Sometimes the old solution that just works, is the best solution.

  • If you've got some simple electronics knowledge, you could use one of these wifi modules: http://rayshobby.net/first-imp... [rayshobby.net]

    $3, wire up a switch, and write some software to monitor it. You could use one to make an accelerometer monitor for your wife too.

  • To answer your technical question minus the classic /. judgement I second @klek in suggesting Flic.io.
    It sounds like it will do exactly what you're looking for.
    Unfortunately they're still in development but it sounds like exactly what you're looking for.

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