When your child reaches the preschool age, it is time to teach them about the 911 emergency system. The National Emergency Number Association's 911 number covers most of the United States. Here are tips to help you teach your child how to successfully determine if the situation is an emergency and if she should call 911 for help.
1) Talk to your child frequently about what an emergency is. Your child should not hesitate to pick up the phone if there is a fire, break in or he cannot wake up mommy. He will need to know what constitutes a true emergency, so be prepared for lots of questions from your little one.
2) Show your child the phone and give basic instructions on how to dial 911.
3) Hang up a paper with the 911 number clearly written on it near the phone or on the refrigerator, so your child learns what the numbers look like and begins to remember them. You can also program 911 into your phone so your child only has to hit one number instead of three.
4) Make sure your number is programmed to display your address to the 911 dispatcher. In an emergency situation a toddler might forget his address. If your phone cannot be set up with the local 911 dispatch number make sure your child knows your address to give to the operator or at least the street that you live on.
5) Teach your toddler his first and last name. He should also know your first and last name. Many children become confused and think that 'mom' is their mother's name. They don't realize that there is another name to associate with her.
6) Never put the phone out of your toddler's reach. Make sure your toddler can easy get to the phone during an emergency.
7) Many dispatch centers will let your child call 911 during a non-emergency situation, so the child gets used to the process. Contact your dispatch center to see if they offer such an educational service.
Teaching your child how to successfully use the 911 emergency number may save a life someday.