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Teach your Child About 911

One of the things all parents should do is to take a first aid course. Handling common emergencies is not only useful if a situation arises but can empower us as caregivers and lessen the anxiety of a negative outcome. Occasionally we read the opposite situation in the news. A young child saves a parent or grandparent from a dire outcome by calling 911.

How do we teach our children to know what to do in an emergency?  

It is important that children know when to make the call. Be very specific about scenarios which warrant a call to emergency services.  A fire, a break-in, seeing someone who is unconscious, not able to breathe or choking are all appropriate situations where emergency services may be needed. Caregivers may worry about scaring children, but it is less frightening to children to be able to have a plan of action than to imagine situations and not have a definitive plan.

Ensure that your child knows that emergency services are busy and that a call should only be placed if necessary and never as a joke.

There is some information that children should know when they make the call. Knowing their address, including an apartment number, and some basic language to describe what is happening is very helpful.   As more people do without land lines, knowing a security code to get into the caregiver’s cell phone may also be helpful.  

When children are old enough, having them take a basic first aid course and having a first aid kit in the home in a place that they can access is also key in dealing with emergencies.

Just as parents feel empowered by knowing what to do in an emergency, children can also feel empowered by having this basic information. The stories we read of those heroic children are awesome but what is not always mentioned is that a caregiver with foresight helped to make this happen!

Dr. Bhooma Bhayana is a family physician in London and the mother of two young men and grandmother of one lovely princess! She continues to find wonder and enjoyment in family practice despite more than 30 years on the job!


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