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

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

woman putting money into a piggy bank

When My Health Prevents Me From Contributing Financially

I had a busy week, which was full of doctor appointments, planning, and a short trip to the mountains. My sweet roommate helped me roll around a lake in the mountains, and we saw so many pretty sights. I even got to see my first moose! I tried a new treatment recently, and I am starting a [...]
16 Things Doctors Don't Tell People About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

16 Things Doctors Don't Tell People About Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

It can take years to get an Ehlers-Danlos syndrome diagnosis, and when you do, you might find that your doctors still don’t know everything there is to know about the condition. Many are under the impression that EDS is just another way to say “hypermobility,” and while that certainly can be a huge symptom, there [...]
A female medical professional wearing scrubs, with her head in her hand, in front of a dark background.

Why Getting Sick While Working in Healthcare Doesn't Make Me 'Lucky'

I am in the healthcare field and have, for my own health, been to countless doctors over the last six years. Almost every single healthcare provider has said to me some version of how wonderful it is that for having been through such a health ordeal, I will now be able to deliver compassionate and [...]
A picture of a Latina woman with a serious facial expression, standing outside in a median.

The Difference Between Accepting Your Illness and Coming to Terms With It

A little over one year ago I was diagnosed with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a degenerative connective tissue disorder that has no cure. Unfortunately that means I will never get better, only worse. Even though before this I was still chronically ill, I always held onto hope that one day I would [...]