One morning as I was tip-toeing through the gate at the top of the stairs to avoid waking my little cherubs up, my little fluffy cherub zoomed by me almost knocking me down. That quick flash of panic led me to realize that if anything happened to this stay at home mom, whose husband goes to work before the kiddos wake up and doesn’t come back home until dinner time, would anyone know how to get help? That was the moment I realized I need to teach my 4-year old how to call 9-1-1 and what 9-1-1 is.
When she came down for breakfast that morning, I had a sparkle in my eye that I was going to teach her the most wonderful thing ever. I was full of excitement (and slight fear) that I even thought to do this (however, I’m pretty sure I am way behind on this lesson), but I was ready.
The whole process seemed to go pretty smoothly. So I figured I would share what I did:
We talked about how sometimes we need help when we get hurt (a conversation we’ve been having for quite some time due to not LOVING doctor visits in the past). I told my daughter that sometimes we need to call a “doctor” to our house if someone gets hurt so they can help us. Topics we chatted about were how police officers and firefighters help us stay safe and need to come to us sometimes to continue to keep us safe. They are not someone to be afraid of but know we can trust them. (It also helps that we have visited both places and met with firefighters and police officers, providing goodies and getting private tours in return.)
First, it’s important for your child to know their numbers to make the process a little easier. I went through the steps of how to call 9-1-1 from our phone. Because we only have cordless phones, I taught her to dial the numbers, then push talk. I did it a few times (pressing 911, but not pressing talk), and she did it a few times on her own. It was during this time I made it clear that we don’t just call 911 for anything, but it is for times that mommy is really hurt and cannot talk to her due to being hurt.
After we practiced the dialing, we role played. I pretended to be the other person on the phone if she was to call 911. We talked through important things for her to say. We talked about how they can only help if we talk to them and give them information. I’m still working on her knowing our address, which is key information, but hoping that if she is calling from a landline, they can hopefully figure out where we are.
We talked about it for a few days to really ensure that she remembered. Then after a few days of not talking about it, I “quizzed” her in the car on the way to school. I will continue to do this for a while until I feel confident it’s something that she just knows.
I unfortunately had to call 911 for the first time in my life this week due to what I thought was my son having problems breathing, but turned out it was croup. I never had to press those buttons myself before and talk to an operator, but in a way, I am glad the experience happened because then I was able to explain to my daughter that this is what happens
when 911 is called. We had two ambulances and 1 firetruck outside our house. We had about 7 firefighters in our small townhouse at one point. Lights were flashing and neighbors left their houses at 5am to check on us. This was a perfect opportunity to talk about why we only call when we absolutely NEED it and think there is no other help for us.
If you have some any other tips to share, please feel free to fill the comments!! It’s hard when the kids can’t truly practice, but with our help, hopefully we can teach them the basics so IF ever needed, they can handle it.