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Using a Code Word to Pickup Child

Posted on Monday, January 7, 2019
On November 9th we posted a news article to our Facebook about a child being safe because she was taught to use a code word if anyone ever tried to pick her up.

11 year old safe after demanding stranger tell her code word

Facebook Responses:

"Great idea to have a code word... the parents saved their child's life" - Linda B.

"My kids had a code word from Kindergarten on. To avoid confusion, only myself and their father could pick them up without it. They wouldn't leave from school with my own mother if she didn't know it. I was really proud that they asked her. She was, too." - Kirstyn H.

"My kid kept forgetting the code word:/" - Amy S.

"Glad she was smart and they had a code word, but extra glad that he didn't strongarm them anyway 😢...11 is too young to be in the park by themselves unfortunately (these days)" - Helene K.

Should you be looking into doing a code word for your child? Where do you start? Let Family Watchdog help you!

Why use a code word?
A sexual predator may try to lie to your child to gain their instant trust. Kidnappers have been known to say something along the lines of "Can you help me find my puppy", "Your family has been in an accident", or "Your mom asked me to come pick you up today". And all too often, the child knows the person who is trying to harm them and will go with them without second guessing.
Using a code word will teach your child that there is danger out in the real world and by using that code word, it can help save them from real harm happening to them!

Who uses the code word?
Other than his/her parents, there should be only one or two relatives or very close, trusted family friends that a child should be taught are "special" enough to trust to pick him/her up from school or some other activity away from home.

When does that code word get used?
If you are not able to pick up your child at an agreed upon time, and there is no way for you to contact your child, you should contact the "special person" to pick up your child. In the rare event that you cannot pick up your child, and you cannot reach the "special person", the family code word MUST be used. This includes your child playing at the park or walking home from school. You should teach them that if someone asks them to leave ANYTIME, they should have to use the codeword, even if they are in their own yard. Also have a talk with teachers and administrators at school about use of your family code word with your child.

Choosing a code word
Choosing a code word should be easy for your child to remember, but difficult for others to guess.
This can be a favorite line from a favorite movie - do you want to build a snow man?
Names of animals - crocodile, t-rex, wolf, pigeon or hippo.
Never use common names that are used around your house, such as a nickname or pets name.
It should be a creative name and fun to come up with a code word with your child. Maybe just don't use "hippo", but use "purple hippo" or "hungry hippo". Choosing a code word should not scare your child, but be a learning experience for you both. Changing the code word every 6 months or so is a good idea.

Using the code word
Now you must teach your children the importance of using a code word and what to do if that person does not know the code word. Does your child scream and run the opposite way? Do they tell a teacher? Only you know the answer to what your child will do in each situation, so it's a good idea to have a big sit down conversation and install it into your children's heads on what they need to do if someone does not know the code word.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to other readers about code words? Tell us below by leaving a comment!