How to Label Your Kids' Items Without Compromising Their Safety

woman's hands holding black marker

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It is important to label your children's clothing so daycare providersteachers, 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, can labeling clothes, water bottles or other items make your kid a target of a predator?

Adults who prey on children have tricks to gain a child’s trust and one of these tricks is calling a child by his or her name. It is often difficult for kids to separate strangers from acquaintances, and even good guys from the bad guys. If an adult comes up to them and says their name, it may make the child think the person must be someone they know or their parent knows. This makes the child think it is okay to talk to this adult.

A predator can read the name from the label and call out to a kid while appearing to "know" your child.

Safety Tips for Labeling Children's Items

Use these tips to make sure items are easily identifiable by those who need to know without compromising your child's safety.

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.

First, however, make sure the ink will not show on the outside, in essence ruining the look of the garment.

Label Creatively

Some parents have created unique ways of identifying their child and labeling items. One family color codes family members by color and has relayed that information to preschool teachers, educators, and family and friends alike. She has developed a unique iron-on label she affixes in clothing and even uses permanent markers in the color-match system to label toys and other items.

Another parent simply uses her kids' initials, while another puts the family name on everything, and hopes lost items will be returned to her this way. 

Types of Labels for Clothing

There are many options when it comes to labeling kids clothes. You can use a laundry marker pen or an old fashioned Sharpie marker to write names onto the clothes. There are also companies that create personalized labels, either as sticker labels or iron-on labels.

Labeling Without Using a Name

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.

A Word From Verywell

When deciding how or if to label your kids' items, consider whether a bit of added peace of mind outweighs the possibility that a beloved toy or clothing item ends up lost.

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  1. KidsHealth. Preventing Abductions. Updated May 2018.