Kids rely on their caregivers to keep them safe. Knowing exactly what to do in an emergency can make it less scary and confusing for them – and could save a life.
It’s more than teaching children how to dial a phone. It’s about helping children understand what an emergency is and what happens when a dispatcher answers their call.
Start with the basics when your child is three or four. Role-play some simple scenarios with your child – ‘mom can’t get up from the floor and there’s no one else around’ – and then pretend to dial 9-1-1 on a play phone.
Revisit the lesson every year as your child becomes more mature and aware of his or her surroundings and abilities.
- Talk to your children about emergencies. Speak calmly, in a reassuring manner, about different kinds of emergency situations in your home, in the park or with friends. Ask questions such as:
- What would you do if someone faints?
- What would you do if someone has a bug bite?
- Tell children:
- 9-1-1 is a number to call for help when someone is in danger or not safe.
- You can trust the person who answers a 9-1-1 call.
- Try role-playing to build their confidence.
- Ask them when they should call 9-1-1.
- Get them to point out emergency workers in your community.
- Practice asking them what their address or location is – dispatchers will need this information to send an ambulance.