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I learned all about calling 911 with my oldest son. He was around 7 the first time he called 911.
We lived in Ohio at the time, but were visiting my parents in Kentucky. My husband cut his hand with his pocket knife. It wasn’t bad, no stitches required, but I guess it scared our son. He went in the other room and called 911.
I found out when I answered the phone when 911 called back to check to see what was going on. I had to explain the situation, which they accepted, and we avoided anyone coming to the house.
So we had a big discussion with him about how 911 was for emergencies only. To which he replied it was because dad was bleeding. So we continued that discussion. We thought we had finally gotten through to him.
Teaching Kids to Call 911 My Story Part 2
Until a couple of days later…..
We were back home in Ohio. And as moms do, I went to the bathroom. Since kids can come up with all kinds of trouble while mom is in the bathroom….
My son called 911 again. So much for our conversation.
So I’m in the bathroom when I hear the answering machine in the other room. “We received a call from this number. We are checking to see if everyone is ok”
Oh my! Guess who flew out of the bathroom?
I ran out to the phone and replayed the message. Yep, I had heard it right. So now I’m freaking out! What do I do? Call 911 back? That didn’t seem right. I didn’t want to tie up the line. So while I’m standing there trying to figure out what to do, I hear a knock at the door.
2 policemen. “ we got a call from here so we’re checking to see if everything is ok”
So yes, I had to stand there and tell the police that my son must have called while I was in the bathroom and that I heard the callback but couldn’t get to the phone in time. Because I was in the bathroom. Lol They believed me lol and I didn’t get arrested for making false 911 calls.
So we had another discussion. Apparently this one sunk I because he never called 911 again.
Teaching Kids to Call 911
Before you start, you need to make sure that your child has memorized their full name and address. Even a 2 year old can learn that pretty quickly. A land line call can be traced to your address, but cell phones will take a long time to trace, if it is even possible with your phone/ where you live.
After learning those, the first step in teaching kids to call 911 is to teach them WHEN and WHY to call 911. This can be in general terms, or in more specific terms if someone in the family has a health condition. I’ve linked some resources below to help you.
Once they know the when and why for calling 911, it’s time to teach them how to use the phone to call.
If you have a landline phone, teaching kids to call 911 is easy. Just make sure the phone is hung up when dialing!
Teaching kids to call 911 on a cell phone is a little more complicated. You need to check out the phone that they would most likely have access to in an emergency. Cell phones have a way to access the phone to call 911 without having to put in the phones password.
On my phone, when the home button is pressed, the keypad comes on the screen to put in the password, but at the bottom it says EMERGENCY. When that is touched , the phones number pad comes on the screen. I think on some phones it’s a swipe. So check out your phone so you can teach the kids the correct procedure to use to make the call. Go over that procedure often so they remember. When you get a new phone, remember to check it out to see if it works differently so you can show them that way.
What to Do When You Accidentally Call 911
While you are teaching your kids how to call 911, they, (or you!) may accidentally make the call for real.
When that happens, it is recommend to stay on the call, don’t hang up! Then tell the dispatcher you were teaching your kids, and the call was an accident. As I learned they will make a call back if you hang up that takes extra time for them.
It’s helpful to look up the non-emergency number for dispatch. So if your kid calls 911, you don’t have to freak out like I did and not know what to do. Call the non-emergency number and tell them what happened if you miss the call back, like I did.
Teaching your kids to call 911, the correct way!, isn’t difficult, but might be tricky depending on your kid, (or mine, sheesh, lol) and your phone.
Here’s a book 911 Coloring and Activity Book: Learn Emergency Situations that will help reinforce what you have taught them.
Check out this website and resources that will help you.
Visit 911 for Kids for lots of helpful information for teaching your kids about 911.
They have a 911 Lesson Plan, that I wish I had had! lol
And a pdf for teaching kids about emergencies that looks amazing.
If you are having to teach your children how to call 911 because of health issues in your family, you may find my Homeschooling in a Crisis post helpful. If your kids are still having virtual school, you may find it helpful, also.
*This post contains affiliate links. If you click the links, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.