Would your child know what to do if there is an emergency? Does your child know what a real emergency is and how to use 911?
It is not uncommon for children to left at home while the parents are at work. Although no one ever wants an emergency, it is recommended that you teach your kids how to respond in case of unwanted situations. Children, as young as three years old, can be taught about how and when to use 911. Knowing what to teach your children about 911 is crucial to ensure they call it properly and prevent unnecessary calls.
Here are a few tips on how to teach the use of 911 to young children:
- Always teach 911 as “nine-one-one”, not “nine-eleven.” Young children might think there is an “eleven” button on the phone thus might waste time looking for it.
- Demonstrate to your child how to dial using a non-working phone, a play telephone or while the phone is unplugged. NEVER actually dial 911 to teach children.
- Role-play with your child and pretend that you are the operator. Ask what the nature of the emergency is, where it is and how many are involved. Coach your child what to say and how to speak clearly to help the operator.
- Teach your kids when to call 911. Role-play different emergency scenarios, such as what to do in case someone gets badly hurt or there is a fire or someone suddenly becomes unconscious. Explain what real emergencies are and provide possible emergency situations.
- It is extremely important to explain to your kids NEVER to call 911 as prank or joke, or in non-emergency situations.
- If you accidentally dialed 911, stay on the line and explain to the operator that there is no emergency to avoid them from wasting their time on unnecessary calls. NEVER hang up the phone without informing the operator it was a misdial.
- Post the phone number of police or other local services that can provide help for non-emergency situations.
- Always call from a safe place. For example, if there is a house fire, make sure the child understands that they need to stay safe first before calling 911.
- Stay calm and avoid getting panic in case of emergency. Practice can prepare the child for actual emergency situations. Explain to the child that they have to stay calm so that they can provide accurate information and that they can follow instructions given.
- Instruct children to leave their name, location of emergency and nature of emergency. It is recommended that you post the address near the phone so they can easily read it.
- NEVER hang up unless the operator instructs you to do so. Emergency dispatch operators are trained on how to deal with children so that they can make sure the rescue service arrives at the right location and so they can respond properly.
To learn more about how and when to contact emergency medical services enrol in workplace approved first aid and / or CPR training here.