I often wonder (and worry) what would happen in an emergency – what would my kids do? Would they know what to do? What if something happened to me and I couldn’t tell them?
I wrote about my concerns and reached out to the St John New Zealand organisation to see if they could help me put something together.
So here are some ways to teach your kids about what to do in an emergency:
1. TEACH YOUR CHILD WHAT AN EMERGENCY IS
An “emergency” can be relative and to a child they might not understand unless you specifically explain it to them. Obviously under normal circumstances an adult will be dealing with an emergency situation, so for me it’s important my children know times when I can’t help:
- if Mum (or another adult) is hurt or injured and cannot move and/or speak
- if there is a lot of blood
- if someone can’t breathe
- someone trying to break into the house
- a vehicle accident
- a house fire
You may have to role play a few situations for them to understand exactly what you mean.
2. TEACH THEM HOW TO CALL 111
This one was a tricky one for me because my cellphone has a lock on it, and we don’t have a house phone. A lot of you will also be in this situation, so you’ll need to teach them how to make an emergency call on your cellphone.
The St John New Zealand team have put together a catchy song to help children remember how to dial 111 in an emergency:
Here’s the official website for the 111 Ambulance Song. From here you can download it in different formats so that your kids can learn to sing along! Thanks Chris Sanders (Angel Star) for creating this!
It’s also important to tell your children not to call 111 UNLESS it is an actual emergency – so you’ll have to reiterate step 1 for that. Dialling 111 is no joke and your kids should know that.
3. TEACH THEM HOW TO USE YOUR CELLPHONE
Each cellphone is different (unless you have an iPhone), so teach your kids how to make a basic emergency call.
The iPhone instructions are very simple (if the phone is locked):
- Press the Home button on the iPhone to trigger the passcode screen.
- Tap Emergency in the bottom left corner of the screen.
- Dial 1 1 1 and tap the green phone icon
If you have a different type of phone (other than an iPhone), then you will need to show them how to make an emergency call (which is the most basic type of call and can be done without having to unlock the phone).
4. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN YOUR ADDRESS
I know that might seem ridiculous, but teach them your address – specifically how to spell your road name. If they can learn how to dial 111, they can learn the spelling of the road you live on.
5. INTRODUCE YOUR CHILDREN TO YOUR NEIGHBOURS
In a society where we tend to stay to ourselves and not venture out beyond our own fence line, it is important to maintain that contact with the neighbours – especially for emergency situations. Take your kids to your neighbours house and introduce them and explain that you’re teaching them about emergencies and ask “if something was to go wrong, are you ok if my kids come over to get you?”.
Reaching out to your neighbours like this is excellent for emergencies and for both of you to know that you’re there for each other if need be.
6. WRITE A LIST OF FAMILY NAMES & NUMBERS
I know some of your kids might not be able to read, but regardless it’s good to have a written list of your family members’ names and phone numbers. My daughter is 6 so can read basic words, so I would write a list that would say “Grandma” or “Granddad” and then write the phone number next to it.
Teach your children what each name / word means, and the number to dial. Show them how to make this call on the phone and/or on your cellphone.
It can be quite daunting thinking about an emergency situation, especially when you have young kids who can’t help. My best piece of advice is to reach out to your neighbours and start a relationship with them. Don’t be a stranger because you never know when you might need their help.
And always chat to your kids about what to do so that it keeps it fresh in their minds.
Have you got any tips or tricks that are helpful when teaching kids what to do in an emergency?
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