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  • Andy Murphy

Codeword: Secure

You near the door and knock. All is quiet until the door creeks open. Two small eyes stare back at you through the crack in the door. The eyes are silent. You know what to say. You look over your shoulder and back at the door keeper, “Elmo.” you whisper.

The door opens and you are now in the exclusive all boys club that is secretly in your bathroom. Now it’s your son, the dog and you wondering why on earth you needed a code word to get in? Code words are fun and help keep your family safe.

Code words can be used for more than just silly play time. A codeword can mean the difference in staying safe and being exposed to danger. My family has used this safety tool for a long time. I had one when I was a kid and now my family has one. (And no, I’m not going to tell you my code word from the 80’s.)

When when got a home security system, the company needed a codeword to use when they’d call us in the event of an emergency. Then our preschool needed a codeword for any adult that was picking up our son that was not us. It’s important to have a family codeword to ensure that your children (and their teachers) can trust the adult they are speaking with.

The most common use for a code word is when an adult has to pick up a child from school or daycare in the event of an emergency. When I was young, a member of our church picked me up from school and used our family codeword. This immediately put me at ease even though I knew the person. Another use of a codeword can be to signal danger. If you are approached by a sketchy person in a parking lot you can use your codeword in a sentence to your family to get them to break off from you and seek safety.

Often the biggest problem with a codeword is that no one remembers it. I’m guilty of this too. When I called security company recently to make some changes, they asked me for the code word. It took me a long second to remember it, but I got it. Every once in awhile, quiz your kids and your wife on what the codeword is and see if they can remember it.

I don’t have a problem with your family having one code word for danger, the security system and school, but these words need to be secret and a one time use tool. After you use it once, you forget it and make a new one. Code words can be hard to come up with, so below are some ideas for you to use.

Examples of Code Words and Phrases:

A pet’s name

A child’s middle name

Favorite TV show

Favorite color

A character from a book

Name of a city you’ve visited

Favorite snack

Favorite Tom Clancy novel

Mom’s favorite chocolate bar

The eagle has landed

I’m your huckleberry

This is Sparta!

Remember that these words are one time use only and need to be kept secret. These can be effective as long as you know how and when to use them.

Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.


Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

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