How to Communicate about Safety in American Sign Language

Keeping the people you're with safe is probably a high priority — and these American Sign Language (ASL) signs can help you do just that, whether you're signing with a Deaf friend or your toddler:

  • Hot: Make an ASL letter C with either hand. While holding the C position, place your fingertips just under your nose and your thumb tip just under your bottom lip. Quickly move your hand away from your mouth and twist your wrist so that your fingertips are facing away from your body.

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  • Cold: Make fists with both hands and hold them at shoulder level, then shake your fists and arms as if you’re shivering in the cold.

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  • Stop: Hold out one hand as if preparing to shake hands with someone, hold out your opposite hand so that the palm is facing up, and bring down the edge of the raised hand sharply onto your opposite hand’s palm.

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  • Wait: With both hands, make the open-5 hand shape, palms facing up and fingertips curled, and wiggle your fingers.

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  • Careful: Make two K hands and, turning your hands sideways (pinkie-sides down), place one K hand on top of the other, and tap a few times.

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  • Hurt: Extend both index fingers and repeatedly almost touch their tips.

    If a specific body part hurts, move your hands to the vicinity of the body part that hurts while doing this motion. If feelings are hurt, rather than a body part, twist your hands and fingers in opposite directions over your heart while making this motion and a sad face (as shown in this figure).

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  • Help: Place a fist, thumb up, on top of the opposite palm, and move both palms up.

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