With the start of school, BC Ambulance Service (BCAS) reminds parents and caregivers that teaching your child to call 9-1-1 and to know their home address is one of the most important things you can do to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
“Even very young children can learn to call 9-1-1,” said Dr. Michal Fedeles, manager, learning design for BCAS. “It’s a good idea to talk to your children about calling 9-1-1 once a year. Fall is a good time because school starts and household routines change.”
Follow the three Ts to teach your children to call 9-1-1:
• Talk to your children about emergencies. Speak calmly, in a reassuring manner about different kinds of emergency situations in your home, in the park or with friends. Questions are a good way to convey this: What would you do if someone faints?
• Tell children that 9-1-1 is a number to call for help when someone is in danger or not safe and that children can trust the person who answers a 9-1-1 call.
• Try role playing to build their confidence; ask them when they should call 9-1-1 or to point out emergency workers in your community.
• Fedeles recommends starting with the basics when your child is three or four years old and revisiting the issue every year, as children become more mature and aware of their surroundings.
“Children can grasp the concept of an emergency situation – whether someone is unresponsive from a fall or from fainting, if a fire starts or if someone is breaking into your home,” said Fedeles. “Of course, tailor the discussion to your child based on whether they’re preschool age or a teenager.”
For more information about teaching your children about 9-1-1, visit Factsheet: Tips for Teaching Your Children about 9-1-1.