The 5 Minute Prepper #26: Danger Words, Code Words

Danger Words are words that you can use with your children so that they can let you know that they feel they are in danger, or are in an uncomfortable situation and want to leave. As children grow up and start venturing out into the world they begin to find themselves in situations they have never been in before and may not know how best to handle it. Giving them a danger word to use allows them to let you know that they want help out of the situation.

As you may remember from your school days, it’s important to be able to save face, and not get a stigma of being uncool. By using danger words, your child can tell you that they want you to pick them up, without any of their friends knowing. Among today’s kids, it’s commonplace to need to call mom or dad on a regular basis, as many parents make this a requirement for the child to be away from home. This is a perfect opportunity, or cover story, for calling the parent and using the danger word.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with your child simply saying, “They’re doing bad stuff here, come get me,” if they feel comfortable enough to say that in front of the people they’re with. This can lead to ridicule and teasing, which is something that most kids will try to avoid. Wanting to avoid this type of exposure, the child may decide to stay in a bad situation because they have no way of leaving on their own and can’t ask their parents to come get them without someone hearing the conversation.

Choosing a danger word needs to be something that it common enough to work into normal conversation, but unique enough that none of your family would be using those words normally. This could be a fictitious aunt or uncle, or a type of food that no one eats in your family. It can be any word or phrase that has no special meaning and isn’t something that you would typically discuss.

For example, let’s say that you and your children set your danger word as “rutabaga,” as your family never eats that vegetable. The side of the conversation that your child’s friends hears might go something like this, “Hi mom, I’m just checking in like you wanted me to. What’s going on there? Oh no, I hope you’re not making that rutabaga salad again, you know it gives dad gas! No, I’m fine; I don’t want to leave. GRR! Okay. Fine mom, I’ll be ready.

Your kid has just told you that they want you to get them out of there, but as far as their friends know, it was you, the parent, that’s making them leave.

Another secret word you and your children should have is a pick-up safety word. This secret word is something your kids need to ask for before allowing anyone to give them a ride on your behalf. If the person doesn’t know the secret word, your kids should not go with that person, even if they know them, like a neighbor or an adult friend. The word will need to change as once it’s used, it’s no longer secret, but this prevents your child from being duped by a clever adult.

Similarly, Code Words allow you to talk about subjects without arousing suspicion or curiosity in those who may be eavesdropping on your conversation. When you’re in public, you never know who may be listening. You can keep your hobbies private by using code words in normal conversation.

As a simple example, when you’re at the store, and say, “Honey, do you think we should use some of our preparedness funds to buy this vacuum sealer,” you could potentially be telling the thief around the corner that you probably have desirable goods to steal. Now, let’s say that you and your spouse have decided to refer to your prepping savings account as “Uncle Henry.” Instead of the open-to-the-public conversation above, you could say, “Honey, do you think Uncle Henry would like this vacuum sealer?” Of course, this would only work if you didn’t really have an uncle Henry, but you can see how a few code words can keep sensitive information from being picked up by others.

This tip was brought to you by the Preparedness Podcast and was written by Rob Hanus. Feel free to share it with your friends and family.

Rob Hanus is the author of the book “The Preparedness Capability Checklist” which is an easy-to-read-and-follow guide that is full of the most efficient methods for intelligent and deliberate prepping. Rob is also host of the Preparedness Podcast.

You can get the Rob’s book here:

Tune into Rob’s podcast here:

(Visited 5,094 times, 1 visits today)

Categorised in: , , ,

This post was written by Marjory


  • Sloth says:

    Excellent advice on using code words. There may be times when using just one word will have a meaning that commands instant compliance eg. “shopping” means cross the street NOW!! Practice until it becomes second nature.
    Just be aware, the ambush will not have a warning sign. The predator watches water holes, parking lots, and ATMs, you may not see them, but they see you.

    1. Hi Sloth,

      Yes, thanks for writing in. ATM’s, parking lots, open garages on the street, a group of guys hanging out on the corner. I am not being afraid, but careful. I’ve lived in some very dicey places in my life, and had some very close calls. But paying attention to what is going on around you eliminates about 90% of the danger. I just had a friend tell me about two young girls in her small town that were almost tricked into being kidnapped and sold into slavery – the predator attracted them through texting and tried to lure them out by pre-paying bus tickets for them to L.A. Yikes.

  • Desert Box says:

    Teach your young kids to ask for a secret word that only you and they know if someone offers them a ride by saying that their parents asked them to pick them up. If that person doesn’t know the word then they don’t get in the car.

    1. Jason Macek says:

      Great Tip!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.