It important to label your children’s items so daycare providers, teacher’s, coaches, camp counselors, and other caregivers can locate your child’s backpack, water bottle, shoes and all the other items that get sent to them day-to-day. However, labeling these items may make your child a target of a predator.
Adults who prey on children are loaded with tricks to gain a child’s trust. The most common trick is calling a child by their name. Anyone can read the name from a label and call out to a child. More than likely, your child may assume this person must “know” them. It is often difficult for young children to separate strangers from acquaintances; good guys from bad guys. Having a stranger call them by names might make your child think it is okay to talk to this adult.
Label Items Discreetly
Labeling jackets, backpacks or other items on the outside, with the child’s name prominently visible, is okay when parents are accompanying children, it is not recommended to have obvious name labels in cases where a child may not always be under the constant watch of an adult. For example, when your child is old enough to walk home from school without a grown up, you do not want his or her name visible. In those cases, label their name discreetly on the inside. When doing so, however, be sure to label names in a place where people will actually look and see the information if it is left out and placed into lost-and-find areas.
Label Areas That Cannot Be Removed
Be sure to put a kid’s name on especially-coveted items in areas that cannot be easily removed or cut out (avoid the inside brand labels, if possible). Writing a child’s name in permanent ink on the inside of a collar, for example, can be a perfect location.
Some parents have created unique ways of identifying their child and labeling items. The simple use of your child’s initials or last name is a creative way to avoid the mistake of using your young child’s first name where it is visible.
What Should You Do to Protect Your Children?
Tips to keep your child’s identity private is to label your child’s belongings on the inside of his or her clothing with her initials or decide on a unique symbol, like a star, heart or two dots inside a circle. With these symbols, you can identify what belongs to your child without displaying any personal information.
In the end, factor whether peace of mind over being perhaps being extra safety conscious outweighs the possibility that a child’s beloved toy or clothing taken/worn outside the home will not end up back with you at the end of the day.