Family Safety Code Word: A Good Idea, But Tough to Pick

Heather Chaet

stranger dangerAs a parent, we have 394 things to worry about on a daily basis. As Kiddo grows up, the worries change from toxins in her bottle to whether the car seat is properly installed to lice outbreaks at preschool. Now that she's older, it's time to really tackle one of the biggies -- stranger danger.

It's scary for me, scary for her, and I had not one clue how to even start to give her the tools on this one without totally freaking her out. So I Googled it. Read up on it. A lot of sites gave good common sense advice on it. One of the main ones is to have a family code word. A word that if someone approaches her and says, "Hey, Mommy sent me to pick you up," she can ask him the code word. If he doesn't know it, she knows he is not safe and not to go with him.

Sounds like a good idea, right? But someone tell me, how do you pick that word?

You can't pick something too common or else that kind of defeats the purpose. But you also want to make sure it's easy enough for her to remember. Experts say it should be something Kiddo knows (like an animal -- think alligator, giraffe, or cheetah) but something that isn't usually seen or talked about around the house (no pet names or favorites things). See what I mean, this is hard, right?

And somehow, you have to make sure she doesn't tell Maddy, Julia, Dylan, and all of her other BFFs at preschool this word, not to mention the doorman or the dude sitting next to her on the subway. Once she spills the beans, you are back to square one.

Not only that, once you do decide on a word, you have to remind her of this ... but not too much. You have to walk that fine line of being on top of this danger, but not scaring your kid every other week. Again, this is tough ... but I know it is worth it.

Does your family have a safety code word?


Image via chego101/Flickr

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