Using Secret Safety Codes

Child Safety Strategy

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It's a parent's worst nightmare to think that something may happen to their child that they believe they should have been able to prevent. Parents often blame themselves when kids are abused or abducted. The reason that kids are easy victims is because they are relatively easy to intimidate. Adults and older children who take advantage of young children often use threats of violence against the child or his family to keep the victim in line and prevent him from reporting abuse.

Related: 8 Tips for Kids Online Safety

There are some things parents can do to help keep your child safe and prevent him from becoming a victim. As much as parents hate talking about things like physical abuse, sexual abuse, and kidnapping, we do need to make our children aware of the hazards they may encounter. One of the best ways to keep kids from becoming victims is to develop a coded language that is meaningful only to you and your child. If your child feels threatened, he can use these code words to alert you to the situation.

Related: Home Safety for Children

Kids Safety: A Frightening Example

In July 2009, seventeen-year-old Lily Burk was abducted. Her abductor forced her to call home and tell her parents she was going to be late. He later had her call home again to ask her parents how to withdraw money from the ATM. Her parents had no idea, during either of these calls, that Lily was in trouble. Talk to your child about code words you can use to signal each other that something is wrong. Had Lily had a code word to alert her parents she was in trouble, they may have been able to get to her sooner.

Related: Safe Strangers and Safe Places

Sit down with your spouse and kids and work out a memorable code word to help prevent a tragedy. Remember though, these discussions need to be age appropriate and should not cause your child to become overly anxious.

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