Arizona – After a 10-year-old girl in Arizona used a bold move and some quick thinking to likely save herself from a kidnapping, experts around the United States are suggesting you talk to your kids about a “family code word.”

Mom Brenda James says a man drove up to her daughter and a friend were walking, then asked her to get into the vehicle.

The mom says that’s when her daughter asked for a code word, which the man didn’t know, and then he sped off. James says her family just discussed setting up a code word for an emergency recently.


Why create a “code word” for your family?

Having a secret word to signify an emergency or a word that only your family members know about can save you from falling from scams, being a victim of other crimes, and give your family members a way of conveying something that they might not be able to say otherwise.


Ways to use a “code word”

If someone calls or tells you that your family member is in danger and you suspect they are lying, ask for the secret word. Make sure each family member knows to tell the secret word to another person if there is an actual emergency.

Have a code word that kids can use to tell parents that they need picked up from a dangerous or uncomfortable situation. For example, some parents have their children text a single letter (such as just “x”) to their parents to say “come pick me up” without making it noticeable to anyone else.


How to choose a code word

Code words can be any word you can think of!

Make sure you pick a word that is hard for anyone else to guess but is easy for your family (especially your children) to remember.

It’s important that you don’t share the secret word with anyone else unless it’s a true emergency.