Throughout the history of 911 there have been many instances when children have to call 911 and it remains an unfortunate but necessary skill that all children must be educated in. Please take a moment to browse through the page which includes information that will be vital if your child has to call 911 as well as frequently asked questions.
Video courtesy of Commission on State Emergency Communications
Your Child and 9-1-1
Teach your child their last name, their parent’s names, their home address and phone number. It is invaluable to have this information posted by your home phone. Another good way to teach a young child this information is through a song. Try coming up with a catchy song that includes your address and phone number. Sing it often…children remember!
Teach your child when they should call 9-1-1 and discuss with them what types of situations this may involve. Some examples are below:
- When there is a threat to life or property
- If there is a medical emergency
- If you see an accident
- If you see smoke or flames.
Teach your child not to be afraid to call 9-1-1, even if they are not sure the situation constitutes and emergency.
Without dialing, show your child how to physically dial “Nine, one, one”. Never teach them “Nine Eleven” as this may confuse them and cause them to look for the number eleven during an emergency.
Show your child the difference between dialing 9-1-1 on a home phone and a cell phone. Make sure they know how to access the “key pad” if you have a smart phone.
- It is important show them that on cell phones you must press the “Send” or “Call” button in order for the call to be placed.
Discuss with your child any situations that may be unique to them or your family and home.
This could include an elderly live-in resident, special medical condition of a family member, or any other unique situation that your child might encounter at home.
Teach them to always call from a safe location. If the house is on fire, get out and call from a nearby phone, whether that is from a cell phone or from a neighbor’s home.
Make sure that they stay on the line with the dispatcher until the dispatcher says it is ok to hang up or disconnect.
Activity Pages for Kids
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my child does not know the address or location?
While an address or location is a vital piece of information dispatchers are trained to deal with less than ideal circumstances. Dispatchers will have your child describe their surroundings and, if needed, will instruct them to go to a neighbors or ask anybody nearby for help.
What if my child accidentally dials 911?
If you or your child accidentally calls 911 always stay on the line and speak with the dispatcher.
The dispatcher will need to confirm with you that there is no emergency and that the call was accidental. If your child called then the dispatcher will most likely ask to speak to an adult. If you hang up before the call is answered the 911 call center will attempt to call you back and may even send a police officer to verify that everything is ok.
My child plays with a disabled cell phone. Can those still call 911?
Yes. Cell phones that have been disconnected from a cell phone service provider are still able to call 911 and often times do. Ensure that if your child is playing with a cell phone that the phone is powered completely off. On many cell phones it takes as little as two presses to the “Send” button to dial 911.