7 items to keep students safe at college

You’ve kept them safe from their first steps to their road tests, and now they’re flying the coop and heading off to college. Your protective wing may not reach across town and state lines, but you can equip them with these dorm and campus personal safety products to help keep them (and their belongings) secure.

—ROBOCOPP Sound Grenade

Delivering a 120-decibel alarm when its pin is pulled (the equivalent of a thunderclap), the ROBOCOPP Sound Grenade siren will sound nonstop for a half-hour (unless its pin is returned to the port) The device weighs less than an ounce, has a battery life of a year, and attaches to backpacks, lanyards and keychains. Comes in blue ($19.99) or army camo ($21.99), as a single item or in five-packs ($79.99 blue, army camo $84.99); more information and purchase at robocopp.com.

—Vigilant personal alarm with backup whistle

Designed to look like a car alarm fob, the Vigilant PPS-23K personal alarm emits a 130-decibel alarm at the push of a button. To give you an idea of how loud that is, a Purdue University report says it's the volume of a military jet aircraft taking off from an aircraft carrier with an afterburner at 50 feet. Last we checked, no one (a student or otherwise) can yell that loudly (the average scream registers roughly 90 decibels), so this alarm promises to summon the neighbors. And that volume can also be painful to the ears of those in the vicinity. In addition, there's a built-in backup whistle for use in case the battery dies. Available in red, pink, black, green or yellow. ($16.99 at amazon.com)

—Wearsafe tag

The Wearsafe tag allows its user to call out to friends and family by way of a cellphone — without actually using the phone. Once pressed, the Wearsafe tag sends constant audio through the tag holder's phone — even capturing and saving audio from a full minute before the tag has been activated — giving anyone connected to the user's phone (by an app) an idea of what is happening, and how to respond. All those connected to the Wearsafe user's phone can also share in a live chat room, so everyone linked will know if a response has been sent, what sort of response and where everyone in the room is located. As for the tag, it silently vibrates once an alert is sent, and again once a response has been placed. Tags are available for a $5 monthly subscription (no shipping charge); for more information, purchase and details on a 30-day free trial, visit wearsafe.com. (Be sure and read the Terms of Service in relation to possible cancellation or non-return of device fees.)

—Compact safe

The 0.5-cubic-foot, solid steel SentrySafe (model P005C) is perfect for securing small valuables, such as jewelry, cellphones, wallets, keys, MP3 players, credit cards and cash. The 3-digit mechanical lock is programmable with a code of your choosing, and the steel-tethering cable can't be easily cut. It measures 6-by-8-by- 2.5-inches and weighs three pounds. (starting new from $23.26 at amazon.com)

—BlingSting Pepper Spray

Created by a mother and daughter team "whose love for anything cute and sparkly got them thinking that maybe if women had cute choices for personal safety items they would be more likely to keep them handy," this bedazzled can of pepper spray on a clip-on chain is both fashionable and fierce. Attach it to a purse strap, gym bag or key chain, where it will be at the ready in the unfortunate circumstance when it might be needed. Available in eight colors and refillable. ($22 at blingsting.com)

Check with local ordinances, as pepper spray is regulated in some towns and states.

—Doorstop alarm

Powered by a 9-volt battery (not included,) the GE personal security doorstop alarm emits 120 decibels of sound when pressure from an opening door is applied. Simply slip it under the door, flip the on/off switch to activate, and sleep peacefully knowing you'll be awakened in the event of a forced entry. ($19.97 at homedepot.com)


The Revolar tag not only allows its users to reach out with a signal for help, but the device holder can send a yellow alert (signifying there is problem potential, and that connecting with contacts is necessary) or a red alert (immediate help is required) — with both alerts featuring a text message that includes an active GPS link. Water-resistant, it uses a battery with a year-long life, is less than 2 inches in length and can be hidden under clothing or attached to a keychain. ($99 at revolar.com)