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Teaching Your Child What to Do in an Emergency

Teaching Your Child What to Do in an Emergency
Posted on July 11, 2018 by CHS

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. During an emergency, a parent could be injured while alone with their child or a child might get separated from their parents. In times like these, your child needs to know what to do to keep himself safe and find help.

According to Dr. Gail Gross, a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, every child needs to learn to stay calm during an emergency. Avoid any interruptions and distractions when you talk about emergencies with your child. Help your child understand the importance of staying calm during emergencies. Panic will only make things worse. By learning to stay calm, your child will feel more confident when an emergency happens.

Dial 911
Teach your child how and when to dial 911 on home phones and smart phones. Make sure that they know how to unlock the phone and dial 911 or access the SOS button. Ask your child questions such as, “what do you do if there is a fire in our house?” or “what do you do if you see a stranger breaking into our house?” Through scenarios like these, your child can better understand when to dial 911 during an emergency.

Once they understand when to call 911, teach them when not to call 911. For example, cases like tripping down a step that does not result in a serious injury, arguing with siblings, or losing a pet are times when they should not call 911. Let them know that it is illegal to call 911 as a joke and that when calling 911 for non-emergencies, it can delay a response time for someone who actually needs help.

When your child is speaking to the 911 operator, make sure that your child knows the key information that should be shared with emergency staff. Your child should be able to tell the operator where she is calling from, what type of emergency is occurring, who needs help, and if the person is awake and breathing (if applicable). Although you may have taught your child not to give strangers personal information, let them know it is okay to give information to the 911 operator. For more information on dialing 911, click here.

Home Address and Emergency Contacts
Teach your child his home address and emergency contact numbers, such as your phone number, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or babysitter. Here are ways you can teach your child their address and phone number, provided by Lasting Thumbprints.

  1. Sing a song: Try developing a song that connects to your address and phone number, it will help younger children to memorize it easier. You would separate your address by address number, street name, city and state, and zip code, and your phone number with the first three digits (area code), middle three digits, and last four digits. By separating your address and phone number like this, you can use them as a lyric and sing along to tunes of songs like Frere Jacques.
  2. Play a game: This option will not only help your child memorize your phone numbers, but it will also aid in learning about numbers and getting active. First, print out or draw full sheets of numbers from 0 to 9 on each page and get each page laminated. Next, tape each number onto an open floor in order of the keypad on your phone. You can then play different games like tossing bean bags onto the digits of your phone number in the correct order (if you don’t have enough bean bags, you can use any objects that won’t bounce or roll around) or play your own version of Twister by using your phone number (in the correct order) as your prompts. To learn more about this idea, click here.
  3. Practice makes perfect: You can practice with your child through repeating activities like the games previously mentioned, or by practicing their dialing on a real phone. Practice through repetition will help your child memorize what to do when they need to call someone. You can also do this for your home address by writing it on paper while reciting it out loud.
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