Teach a Child to Call 911

Teaching Kids How to Dial 9-1-1 Can Save Lives

Getty/Wesley Hitt

You often hear about a young child who, through dialing 9-1-1 emergency, helped save the life of a family member. But how do young children learn how and when to make the call? Simple. They are taught.

What Constitutes an Emergency?

Teaching children the difference between emergency and non-emergency situations is the first step in helping them to learn about using 9-1-1 for help. Developing simple concepts and role playing is often successful in helping them to understand what an emergency is and it helps them to develop the skills needed to take action if a situation occurs.

9-1-1 Training Scenarios

What is an Emergency

  1. Pretend that you have fallen and are unconscious.
  2. If there is more than one child, pretend that one fell and broke a leg.
  3. Pretend there is a fire.
  4. Pretend a grandparent has fallen down the steps.
  5. Pretend the babysitter is unconscious.

What Is Not an Emergency?

  1. Pretend the dog is lost.
  2. Pretend one child won't share their toys with the other.
  3. Pretend the child falls down and is mildly bruised by the fall.
  4. Pretend the children are playing and break a window.
  5. Pretend a grandparent falls asleep while watching television.

Explain What Happens When They Call 9-1-1

Discuss the types and the roles of emergency workers such as the police, paramedics, ambulance drivers, firefighters and doctors. Explain that by dialing 9-1-1 that they will be asking for emergency workers to come and help. Show them how to dial 9-1-1 on the telephone and incorporate it into the role playing.

Prepare Them With Answers

Help them memorize their home address and telephone number. Role play the questions that the 9-1-1 operator will ask them and stress to them the importance of not hanging up the phone until help arrives.

Explain to them that everyone gets a little scared during emergency situations and that it is normal to feel frightened, but that they still need to answer the questions that are asked by the 9-1-1 operators.

Refresher Courses

Once your child learns the basics, review it using the same role playing every few months.

Prank 9-1-1 Calls

It is important for children to understand that calling 9-1-1 in non-emergency situations or for fun is unacceptable. But at the same time you do not want the child to be afraid to call. Teaching the 9-1-1 song from 911forkids.com can be a fun tool to help them to understand that calling 9-1-1 is serious business.