Authorities say a family’s safety plan saved the life of an 11-year-old girl who put it into action when a stranger approached her at an Arizona park last week. So basically, what I’m saying here is ALL parents need to read this story, then listen up and do likewise!
The girl was talking with a friend around 4 PM last Wednesday when an SUV pulled up next to them. A man in the vehicle told the girl she needed to come with him quickly, because her brother had been in an accident, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Instead of doing as the man said, the girl asked him to give her the “code word” she and her family had established for just such a situation. Unable to come up with the right word, the kidnapper took off—without his intended prey.
And yes, thwarting a kidnapper was just that simple.
The Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb praised the girl’s parents in a statement. “Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger,” he said. “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.”
Umm…excuse my while I gather my kids up real quick and adopt this code word plan!!
The girl’s mother, Brenda Jones, expressed gratefulness that her family’s safety plan worked just like it was supposed to. “We came up with a code word, and this one time, it saved my daughter’s life,” she told Fox 10 Phoenix. “I never thought it would be used, but I’m proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that.”
The would-be kidnapper, who partially concealed his face with his hand while he talked to the girl, is being sought by law enforcement. Other children reported seeing his vehicle circling the same park earlier in the day.
This girl saved her own life because her mom and dad had equipped her with the tools she needed to outsmart her kidnapper.
Parents, we all need to take a page from the Jones’ book and have a code word with our kids. We must tell them if any adult that they don’t know ever tries to get them to go somewhere with them, they should only go if that person knows your family code word. Choose a word that your kids can easily remember, but not one that’s terribly common, of course. KidsHealth.org has some other great safety tips for families when it comes to prevent abduction; please take a few minutes to go over these with your kids as well.
I’m so thankful this little girl is safe today because her parents thought ahead. I am praying the would-be kidnapper who tried to lure her in is apprehended quickly.
Do you have a “code word” plan with your kids?