Emergency Situations: 4 Things to Teach Your Child

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We often forget how unexpected life can be. All it takes is one misstep, one accident, or one medical situation to leave your child alone in an emergency situation. Often, a parent is alone with their child, either at home or running errands.

If you’re knocked unconscious at home or can’t get to their bus stop on time because of a car accident, would your child know what to do? If your child gets lost, do they know where to turn?

Here are some things that Hospitality Health ER believes every parent should teach their kids in the event of an emergency:

  1. Stay Calm: Although it sounds cliche, the first thing every parent should teach their child is to stay calm in the event of an emergency. Model what it means to be calm, and let your kids know that panicking will only make matters worse. The calmer you are, the smoother everything goes. It may be harder to teach the concept of “remaining calm” to more anxious children, but hopefully talking to them about emergencies before they happen will enable them to feel more confident and prepared when a situation arises.
  1. Dial 911: Today, seventy percent or more of 911 calls are made from wireless devices. Because using a cellphone takes more steps (Click the button, swipe, hit the emergency button, dial 911) than using old-school phones, you’ll need to show your child exactly how to get to the keypad to dial 911.

Next, engage them in role playing so they know what to say to the dispatcher. Let them know the dispatcher is there to help. Although emergency services should be able to trace the location of a landline, wireless phones are not associated with one fixed location or address. The dispatcher should be able to capture the location of the cell site closest to the caller’s location, but that information is not always specific enough for rescue personnel to deliver assistance to the caller quickly.

If your kids are old enough, train them to take note of their surroundings, such as street and store names, to provide to the 911 dispatcher during an emergency. Your child should be able to understand the basic concept of dialing 911 starting at the age of 4, or even earlier.

  1. Memorize Other Contact Numbers: In the event that something happens to you, you want your child to know how to contact your spouse or another emergency contact. Having ICE (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your phone is helpful, but since most people lock their phones with passcodes these days, it may be impossible to access Grandma’s number in your cell phone. There are ICE apps that will bypass the passcode, but encouraging old school memorization of phone numbers, including yours, will better prepare them in any situation. You may want to keep a written call sheet at home in case something happens while you are both in the house. With contact information handy, they can have police or a neighbor make the call
  2. Neighbor Support: Find a neighbor or friend who is willing to help in case of emergency situations. Introduce your children to that neighbor so that they are comfortable going to them in a time of need. And for the times you’re not at home, let your kids know who they should go to if they get lost or if something happens to you (a store associate, a policeman, or another adult).

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