You can find these kinds of stories every day. The ones where children dial 9-1-1 and the call ends up helping to save a life.
You can’t possibly know when an emergency might arise. For this reason alone, consider teaching your children how to respond to an emergency.
Some adults are apprehensive about teaching the dial 9-1-1 lesson because they fear a child may dial the number by accident or even on purpose when there is no emergency. However, when done the right way, many children can grasp the difference between using 9-1-1 in the wrong and right ways. You don’t have to decide based on age but rather maturity level. When you determine the time is right for your child here are some general guidelines to get you started.
Stress that the adults in the house will dial the phone whenever possible if there is an emergency. The child is learning only in case Mom or Dad can’t get to the phone.
Explain that 9-1-1 is the number to call ONLY when they need help right away or when someone or something is hurt or in danger and they need a police officer, fireman or a doctor.
Discuss the buttons on the phone. Show the child how to push them in the right order.
Help your kids memorize information, such as their name, parents’ names, address, and phone number. The more comfortable they are, the more quickly they can provide vital information to the 9-1-1 call taker who can then dispatch the appropriate responders to the location. Tell them the person who answers the phone will ask them questions; so don’t hang up, try to answer the questions.
Go over instances that are emergencies and non-emergencies so he or she will understand the differences between both and when 9-1-1 may be needed. Continue to role-play as the child ages, as technology and their understanding about emergencies will change.
Again, stress the importance that 9-1-1 should not be dialed just for fun and that there are consequences for dialing when it is not an emergency. Mommy is not sick if she simply has a headache! With time, children can grasp the concept of 9-1-1 and be a lifesaver at a time when an adult cannot reach the phone.
[[ A great website for more information on teaching your child to dial for help is www.911forkids.com. ]]