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Teaching Kids to Call 911

May 11, 2014


Teaching your kids to use 911 could make the difference between life and death.

According to 911-for kids, there are a few action steps adults can take to make sure children know when to call 911 and what to say.

Here are a few tips to remember when talking to your children about emergencies and calling for help.

  • Recognize the warning signs. Identify signs for disaster and what to do if a disaster strikes.
  • Talk about ways different people can help. For instance if there’s a fire, a firefighter can help; a doctor for an illness and a police officer for a crime.
  • Teach your children to call three numbers: 9-1-1. Avoid using the phrase “9- Eleven” because young children might waste time looking for an 11 button on the telephone.
  • Post emergency numbers near the phone. Post a small note with 911 as well as poison control and also the local non-emergency number for police and fire, just in case there’s a question or issue. Go over and over with your child when it is appropriate to call each number. (If your child can’t read, use a picture chart to indicate what to do).
  • Have your older child take a first aid and CPR course. These critical skills can be a fun activity for a child. Contact your local office of emergency management, the American Red Cross chapter or a local hospital for class information.
  • Teach your child that when they call 911, they should know the basics: what is the emergency, the address from where you are calling and telephone number. Teach your child to listen to the questions being asked by the dispatcher on the other end. A child should also know the name of each parent.