How Can Parents Protect Their Children From a Stranger Abduction? The Value and Importance of Code Words


As parents, we do our best to protect and care for our children. In the modern day era, it is impossible and impractical to watch over a child on a 24 / 7 basis. Children are at risk for abduction any time that they are in a public place. A parent can put one safety measure in place that may ultimately prevent an abduction. It is called a code word. It is a unique word or phrase that only the parents and select people know. As such, if a child is approached by an adult who the child does not know, the child can ask the adult for the code word. If the adult does not know the code word, this can be a warning sign that the adult has no ties to the child. At times, a bona fide emergency can occur in which the person does not know the code word. However, for others, it is just a stranger intending to do harm and abduct a child.

A situation in Arizona exemplifies the efficacy of code words. Reports indicate that a forty-year-old man in a white SUV approached an eleven-year-old girl to tell her that she needed to leave the park and come with him because her parents had been in a serious accident. The young girl refused to go with him due to his lack of knowledge of her family’s safe word. The man drove off immediately without abducting the girl.

Occurrences of this nature demonstrate the great importance of parents teaching their children precautions to prevent kidnappings. As evidenced in Arizona, code words remain an effective tool for ensuring the safety of children. Kids Health, a division of a children’s hospital, recommends additional safety precaution to teach children, including: never accept candy from strangers, never go anywhere with a stranger even if they promise something fun, say no if anyone ever asks them to do something they think is wrong, how to call 911, and emergency procedures in case they ever get lost or feel unsafe. See Kids Health – Abductions.

Unfortunately, even when parents and children take precautions, tragedies occur, and people take or attempt to take children. In the event a kidnapping or attempted kidnapping occurs, parents may pursue both criminal and civil actions against the kidnappers or attempted-kidnappers. On the criminal side, kidnapping is a crime that occurs when a person, without legal authority, physically moves another person without consent. As a crime, it carries a hefty jail sentence. On the civil side, false imprisonment is a tort that leads to a civil damages award. False imprisonment involves illegal confinement without consent that violates an individual’s right to be free to move. In the terrifying event that a kidnapping or attempted kidnapping occurs, the parents and children involved may pursue both criminal and civil remedies. However, because the relevant facts and law differ from case to case, parents should consult an experienced Child Injury Attorney for advice specific to their situation.

Attorney David Wolf is a child injury attorney and a child safety advocate based in Jacksonville, Florida. He handles child injury and personal injury  cases throughout the State of Florida. He is the author of 12 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.  David Wolf provides a Free Consultation on all child injury and personal injury cases.  Call David Wolf at (904) 500 – WOLF or (904) 500 – 9653.  You can e-mail David Wolf directly at  Send a text message directly to David Wolf at (904) 699-8366.   Experienced – Knowledgeable – Accessible – Get D Wolf On Your Side – At Your Side.

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