911 has been used successfully by children countless numbers of times, not only to protect themselves, but to help get aid to a parent who may be in an emergency situation. Teaching your child how to use 911, even young children, might end up saving your own life.
- Teach children the number 9-1-1, and show them how to dial it. Start as soon as they learn to talk, or at about 2 1/2 years of age.
- Show them where the numbers are on the phone, and show them how to pretend dial it using toy phones or a real phone without touching the buttons (or one that is disconnected).
- Explain to them that this is a number they can use if they need to get help, but only if it is a real emergency. Give them examples of real emergencies that they would use the number for.
- Explain to older children how important it is to never play around with that number. Explain to them that once they dial it, it tracks their phone number, and if they are ever caught playing around with that number, the police will know who they are as soon as they dial.
- Make sure that children do not confuse the number 9-1-1, with 9-11. This has been a problem in the past, and could be even more so after the September 11th episode. Some children have been stumped when they can’t find an “11” on the phone.
Resources for Kids
911 & Cell Phones
You always need to give your location FIRST when calling 911 from a cell phone. 911 operators may not be able to locate you when tracing a call from a cell phone. While they can triangulate your signal in most cases, the result indicates a basic position within around a thousand feet – a problem if rescuers need to find you in the midst of
an apartment complex or other crowded area. Moreover, around 70% of the nations 911 call centers (mostly in rural areas) can not triangulate at all, and will only know what cell tower the call bounced off of. Since around a third of 911 calls are made from cell phones, this is important information to keep in mind – particularly for the 20% of U.S. households who ONLY have a wireless phone.
A fun 911 fact:
Toronto police say they respond to around 300 calls each day dialed by people who accidentally sit on their phones. “Butt dials” as they are referred to account for around 10% of the city’s 911 calls.
Teaching Children Vital information
Begin to teach children their vital information at a young age. This should include:
- Their first and last name
- Their parent’s names
- Their address
- Their phone number