This clever hack stopped an 11-year-old being abducted - and it's so simple

Parents are being urged to take this one step to protect their kids from harm

Man in a Car Beckoning an Apprehensive Girl Standing in a City Street - stock photo
Man in a Car Beckoning an Apprehensive Girl Standing in a City Street - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This clever stranger danger hack is proven to help stop a child from being abducted, and it's so simple.

When it comes to child safety, many parents don't hesitate to buy the best baby car seats or the best pram, but implementing child safety measures doesn't end there.

Whether your child is heading to or home from school or even out shopping in the supermarket with you, there is always a risk that a stranger could approach them.

From asking simple questions like 'What's the time?' to more personal questions including 'What's your name?' and 'Do you want a lift home?' there are many tricks that abductors use to befriend their victim and get them to strike up a conversation.

And it's not uncommon for strangers with harmful intentions to strike in the busiest of places - including shopping centres or supermarkets - when parents have their backs turned. 

But there's a way you can help protect your child from being tempted to go off with the wrong person - even in an emergency situation.

Parents are being urged to set up 'code words' with their kids that only they know and use them to verify if people are really who they are claiming to be - often friends of mummy and daddy.

girl holding book and magnifying glass

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The warning comes after an 11-year-old girl was approached by an unfamiliar man in a white SUV as she walked near a park with her friend outside Phoenix, Arizona. The man claimed her brothers had been involved in a serious accident and that he had been told by her parents to pick her up. But the streetwise girl remembered she had a "code word" set up with her parents and it would help her find out if what the man was saying was true.

After asking the man for the "code word" he drove away as he didn't know what it was, and the girl was safe.

Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, told USA Today, "Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking to their children about stranger danger.

"We hope by putting this out, it will encourage parents to have that conversation and create a plan with their children, so they know what to do if they are in that situation."

The Morcombe Foundation 5 tips to help stop stranger danger

  1. Have a "safe word" or "password"
  2. Make a list of five trusted adults
  3. Do not share information about yourself
  4. Be observant
  5. Do not go off alone

The Morcombe Foundation was set up by the family of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe who disappeared from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. back in 2003 He was on his way to buy Christmas presents for his family at a local shopping centre when he went missing.

Last seen wearing a red t-shirt waiting for a bus at 2.10pm on Sunday, 7th December, it was later discovered in 2011 that he had been abducted and murdered, after his body was finally found.

The foundation, set up by his parents, now lives on in his legacy and is a non-profit safety organisation in Australia.

In other family news, Myleene Klass and 4-year-old son Apollo share adorable video drill that could be a lifesaver. We've also looked at why we need to rethink how we give praise for ‘stronger’, more resilient kids – according to a Harvard-trained parenting expert.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)