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Do Your Kids Know How to Handle an Emergency? Mine….Might.

By Meghan Gesswein |

When I read a story last week, about a 4-year-old girl who called 911 as her brother was choking, I had to laugh (after, of course, finding out that the boy was fine). According to the story, which you can read here, the girl’s grandmother panicked, picked up the boy and ran next door for help. The girl, however, remained cool, calm and collected, and called 911 as she’d been taught to do. In my head, I pictured the grandmother running around in a frenzy, with the little girl rolling her eyes and calling 911 without a moment’s hesitation.

Of course, the reality of the situation isn’t funny at all. I know how stressful those circumstances can be, especially for adults. We see a child in distress and our panic meter goes off the charts, sending any logical thought process out the window. Happily, children have an uncanny ability to remain (mostly) calm and follow the instructions they’ve been given.

But what if you haven’t given your children those instructions? After reading this story, I realized that I had been neglecting this very topic with my own kids.

I immediately sat them down and asked them who they’re supposed to call in an emergency. My 7-year-old said “9-9-1!” Which is so close…but not quite right. My 4-year-old told me he’d call our family friend who is a firefighter. Not a bad choice, but perhaps not the best choice in a crisis situation. After discussing what it means to call 9-1-1, how to call 9-1-1, and when to call 9-1-1, I felt reasonably confident in their understanding of the topic, so we moved on to other important things, like why Mario is better than Luigi and how you kill a Zombie.

The next day my 4-year-old proudly proclaimed “Mommy! I know that you press 9-1-1 when you call the Doctor!” So, clearly, we’re getting there, but it’s not going to be a “one time and done” type of discussion.

How did you teach your kids about calling 9-1-1?

Photo Credit: Chris Violette via Flickr

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About Meghan Gesswein


Meghan Gesswein

Meghan Gesswein is a stay at home mom to three boys. Most of the time. Meghan is extremely active online, and writes for the ever growing mom blog, Meghan GWine. She was a regular contributor to the Parenting channels on Babble.

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