Teaching Kids to Call 9-1-1

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Teach Kids to Call 9-1-1


They learn it in school, we teach it to them at home, but when a real emergency happens, does your child really know how to call for help? Calling 9-1-1 can seem simple because it’s only three numbers, but teaching kids how to dial can only take them so far.

There are several other things they need to understand before they can help out in a life-saving emergency:

1. Explain the difference between emergency situations that may require a call to 9-1-1 and non-emergency situations.

A fire, a stranger inside the house or an unconscious family member are all examples of reasons to call 9-1-1; a lost pet, broken bicycle or skinned knee are not emergencies.
 

2. Make sure your child can say their first and last name and provide their address.

A good tip is to post your address and other important numbers on the refrigerator where the child can see it so they can say and recite back to the dispatcher if needed.
 

3. Show the child how to actually dial 9-1-1 on the phone keypad, and practice with them on a fake phone.

This may mean showing your child how to unlock your cell phone if there is an emergency, as well as dialing from a landline phone.
 

4. Role play different types of emergency situations.

Walk your child through different situations, and practice what they could do to help out. For example, if there is someone unconscious, have them role play the types of things they should say to the dispatcher, like “she’s not breathing,” “he hasn’t woken up yet,” etc.

It is also good practice to have your child learn how to describe their surroundings in case they are calling about an emergency not at home. Teach them to read street signs, describe houses around them or important landmarks around your city.
 

5. Teach your child what a first responder looks like.

Show them pictures of fire fighters, police officers, EMT personnel and other responders so they know who to look for in an emergency.
 

Children as young as 3 or 4 years of age can begin to learn these crucial life-saving skills. It’s important to teach kids that calling 9-1-1 is not a joke and, if they are ever scared or frightened, to know the right steps to take to get to safety.

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