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Home Living Safety Tips Teaching Kids About 911

Teaching Kids About 911

teaching-kids-about-911Teaching Your Kids when to Dial 911.

Adults know that it's imperative to dial 911 when we need emergency assistance. But what about our kids? Do our kids know the importance of the number 9-1-1? Do they know how to dial it? Do some even know how to use a phone? It is important that our children learn about 911 and when to dial the number in case they are ever in an emergency situation where there is no adult to help them.

Teaching 911 to Kids

As parents, it is up to us to teach kids 911. Most of us hope that our kids will never be left unattended by an adult, especially if they are at a very tender age. But there are documented situations where the adult who was left in charge of watching a child was in a situation where they required emergency assistance.

Fortunately, in many of these cases, the child who was left with the adult knew about 911 and how to dial the phone to call for emergency help. This tells us that teaching kids when to dial 911 may not just save our kids' lives, but ours as well.

How Do You Teach Kids 911?

To properly teach kids 911, you need to tell them what constitutes an emergency.

  • INJURY: Seeing someone seriously injured or in serious distress from a sudden ailment such as a heart attack are proper examples.
  • INTRUDER: Another emergency situation is if someone is trying to break into the house. Sometimes it may be up to the child to get help because they are in a place where they know what is happening but aren’t seen by the intruder.
  • FIRE: Then of course, there is in the case of fire in the home. Teach your children to get out of the burning house first and then call 911 from a neighbor's phone.

Teaching Children How to Use the Phone

If a child is quite young, show them the phone (whether this be a land line or your cell phone) and tell them how to use it. Show them on the number pad where the numbers 911 can be found. If you are teaching them on a cell phone, be aware of they'll need a password to access the number pad. Thankfully, many phones have an "emergency call" button in case someone does not remember the cell phone unlock password.

Remind the child that the phone isn't a toy and they are only to use it in an emergency. Also, make sure that your child knows your home address and phone number. This is vital information the 911 operator will ask them for. 

Helping Children Understand Emergencies and Non-Emergencies

It's also important to explain to them the difference between an emergency and a non-emergency. Non-emergency 911 calls are usually not appreciated by the operators. For example, odds are you shouldn’t dial 911 if someone threw a random rock through your window or there is someone in your neighborhood disturbing the peace late at night. In these situations it would be best to call your local law enforcement precinct to report the problem. Though this is not exactly the type of call a child should be making, you can tell your child that these types of situations are non-emergency and don’t require calling 911.

Also, tell your child that under no circumstances is 911 to be called as a joke or a prank. This is an important emergency service that should only be used in emergency situations, and wasting time on non-emergency matters won’t be appreciated. In fact, a kid could get into a lot of trouble for doing something like this.

Teaching our kids about 911 and when to use it or not to use it is an important aspect of being a parent. Let our children know that they can help us as well as themselves by knowing how to dial this important number.

Peggy Francoeur

Peggy Francoeur

My name is Peggy and I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona.  I am the seventh of eight children.  Up till about five years ago I was my mother's Care Attendant till the time of her death.  I have two young daughters, and am a single parent.  I have had an interest in writing since a young age.  I found it to be a way of expressing my feelings in written word. I am also a pretty opinonated person, something I inherited from my father, who could be very opinionated. I have worked as writer for an online newsource, and have done other types of writing work along the way.