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4 Steps for Teaching Your Child to Call 911 During an Emergency


I never imagined I would need to have the discussion I’ve just had with my young daughter, but I realize that we are not alone in navigating hard topics like this, so I’ve decided to share.

Today I taught my 4-year-old daughter how to call 911. With my health condition, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, worsening, she needs to be equipped for the possibility that I could need her assistance to call for help.

I don’t want this to be her responsibility, I don’t even want this to be our reality, but here we are; she and I need to be prepared. Maybe you don’t have a severe condition, but educating our children on proper emergency procedures is still important. If you live in an area with different emergency or relay numbers, read the following through that filter.

As always, call for medical professionals in the event of an emergency. If you are unsure, contact your primary care physician’s nurse line.

Similar scripts could be developed for your children if you are unable to speak or hear. In some areas, I believe you can also text to 911, but if this is not available there is TTY, or other telecommunication companies with video relays that can assist you.

Step 1: Make sure your child knows how to access your phone. This may include knowing your password, or like with my phone, knowing where the emergency button is on the lock screen.

(Tip: Make sure the rules are clear; they only call 911 when they’re asked to, or they have reason to believe it’s an emergency.)

Step 2: Make sure they can identify 911 and submit a call. Practice this (minus submitting the call) so they can do this even while under stress.

Step 3: Create a simple script. Make sure they can identify themselves, express that they were asked to make the call, express that “mommy” is hurt, sick, won’t wake up, etc., and that they need help to come.

Step 4: Help will be dispatched. They may try to keep your child on the phone until help gets there. They may have other questions like:

“Where is your other parent? Are you alone?”

“What is your address?”

They will trace the call either way.

It’s important to remember that making the call, alone, is enough. If they are unable to memorize a script, or are unable to help make the call, dialing the number is enough. Make sure they know this. Every little bit helps.

I’m including a video I’ve made of the two of us practicing the script I created. If you are someone who has been through this before, we would love to hear your story. If you have questions or have special circumstances, please feel free to reach out to us! The Mighty community is here to brain storm and support you as you strategize to empower your family.

Getty Image by monkeybusinessimages


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