How to Use Codes for Your Child's Safety

Posted by Jo Ann Schlicker on May 19, 2015

Today’s world can be a scary place. The headlines scream tales of horrible things that happen to people. You shudder and hope nothing bad happens to a member of your family. You can teach your child to live without fear. There are ways to empower him to guard his own safety. Code words are one of the ways of doing this for young children.

What is a code word? It is a secret word or short phrase that only you and your child know. It should be something the child is familiar with but does not come up in everyday conversation.

Why do you need one? Your child is in school or daycare and an emergency suddenly happens. Someone else beside you must pick your kid up from school. When the other person gets there, how will your child know it is okay? You give the pickup person the code word you and your child have practiced.

It is a secret. This is a secret between Mommy, Daddy, and child. You don’t tell anyone else what it is. Practice saying it. Every week or two, ask your child if he remembers what the code word is. Empathize that the child is to refuse to go with anyone who does not know this word. This is also a good time to review other safety rules with him.

Personal code words. Set up a code word for emergencies. Make it something that does not come up in conversation very often. Tell your child that this is a special word just for his parents and him to know. If he says it, you will know something is wrong. He can say it even if there is someone else there with him. If he is out and calls you to come and get him and says the code word, don’t ask questions. Go get him, he needs to leave that place.

More safety tips. Teach your child his name, address and phone number, including your cell phone number. If he is lost, he can tell the police where he belongs. There was a case in a city where I once lived where a young child was found wandering. He told the police he lived in a white house with mommy. That is not much help. They waited until the frantic parents called.

  • If your child is in a public place, don’t let him wear clothing with his name on it. Strangers can call his name. The child may go to the stranger because he knows his name.
  • Once, I saw a child running at a beach picnic. I called her name which was emblazoned in huge letters on her sweatshirt. She ran up to me at once. I was a total stranger to her, but I knew where she belonged and took her back to her mom.
  • Empower your child with age appropriate tools he needs to live safely in the world. Make it an ongoing program as your child grows and matures. He can live unafraid and you both will have peace of mind.