We have all heard the stories of the heroic young child who saved his mother’s life by calling 911 and telling the dispatcher what was happening. But how do we teach our own child to be that hero in an emergency?
1. Teach your child how to use your phone. Show the child how to dial the number and how to turn the phone on. If you only have a cell phone, teach your child how to dial and send the number from a cell phone.
2. Keep your phone in the same location ALL the time. In an emergency, your child should not have to search on countertops or through sofa cushions to find the phone. Keep your phone on a clear counter that is reachable by your child. If you have only a cell phone, keep your cell phone in the same place all the time.
3. Teach your child your phone number and address. Play games, make art projects, and post your phone number and address near your telephone. This is a valuable information for a child, even as young as two or three years old, to memorize and know. Many areas are now equipped with enhanced 911; however, if you are using a cell phone or if enhanced 911 is experiencing technical issues, your child will need to know this information.
4. Tell your child what an emergency dispatcher is and what they do. Explain to your child who will answer the phone when they call 911. Tell them that the dispatcher will immediately ask, What is your emergency? and What is your address? Help your child to learn how to answer these questions.
5. Practice with your child. Give your child a telephone that is not plugged in. Let them dial 911. Be the dispatcher and practice different scenarios. Praise your child, and teach them that it is okay to call 911 if they need help.
Hopefully your son or daughter will never have to call 911, but by teaching your child how to use the phone and practicing, they will know what to do, if ever called upon to be one of the youngest heroes.