The Real Reason You Shouldn't Put Your Child's Name On Their Backpack

Shopping for back-to-school supplies can break the bank, and then coming home and organizing the stash can be mind boggling. Multiply that by two or three if you have more than one child.

The first thing you do is make sure every item on the list is checked off, especially the one you had to run to three stores to find as well as the one that cost a small fortune. Remember, there are ways to save on school supplies, including swapping with family and friends and hitting thrift stores (via Today's Parent). Once at home, you label everything because the last thing you want is for an item to go missing at school.

Of course, young children forget to bring home their own supplies. Learning how to remember and be responsible for their belongings is actually a tool they will learn in school, a long with a little guidance and patience from teachers and parents (via Leapfrog). That often takes a while to sink in. It's one of the reasons why teachers ask that parents label everything. Then they won't be left at the end of the day not knowing what belongs to whom.

Yet, even if the teacher requests that you label the outside of your child's backpack, there is a reason why you should never do this.

A backpack can show identifying information

Labeling your child's backpack with their name prominently attached to the top of the bag is a way to help teachers and class parents know which one belongs to your child (via Parenting). This is especially helpful at the end of the day when kids are frantically trying to get ready to go home. The classroom can become chaotic when kids try to gather their belongings, put on jackets, and line up to leave. Yet affixing your child's name to the outside of the backpack where everyone can clearly see it can be a mistake.

Susan Kennedy, the senior program manager for outreach and prevention at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) advises against doing that. "Especially for young children, it is possible someone might read their name or their nickname on a coat or a backpack and use that information to make it seem like they know the child by addressing them by [their] name," says Kennedy (via Verywell Family). "This might make the child think that it is OK to go with someone they shouldn't including into a vehicle."

Predators will do whatever they can to make a child think that they can trust them. This includes knowing their name, their parents' name, where they live, and what school they attend.

How to label your child's belongings safely

It always helps to have your child's item clearly identifiable so you can avoid mishaps when children bring home the wrong item and also an easy return for any parent who ends up with it. This also prevents arguments between classmates over who owns what since children often have the same popular gear.

The best way to keep your child safe and not lose their backpack is to add their name on the inside so it's not clearly identifiable (via HuffPost). Then any teacher or parent can take a peek inside and see who it belongs to, yet it won't be visible to strangers in the street or driving by in cars.

It's also vital to teach your child that it's okay to say no to adults (via The Chart CNN). If any adult wants them to go somewhere or touch them inappropriately, instruct your child to say no, run away, and tell an adult they trust what happened.

Though no one wants to think of their child being placed in a predatory situation, every child should be instructed what to do if it ever happens.