Essential Safety For Kids: Calling 999 Emergency
It is a common misconception that children could be too young to understand the idea of calling an emergency services number.
In fact, children as young as 3 or 4 will be able to call 999 and ask for help, should they ever need it.
This article explains some ways in which you can prepare your child for this eventuality, including a few key points about what they should do when on the phone with an operator.
1. What is a 999 call and why should children know how to make one?
A 999 call – or a call to any emergency service – is made by someone who needs urgent assistance from the police, ambulance, fire service or coastguard.
When your child sees something happen that requires immediate medical attention, their first port of call should always be to dial 999.
Making that call could make all the difference to their sibling (if mum/dad/other suitable adult is not around), parent or even grandparent, if they have been rendered unable to do so themselves.
2. What should children remember when they're on the phone with an operator?
There are a few key things that your child should remember when they're on the phone with an operator:
- to stay calm and speak clearly
- to give their name, address and telephone number
- to explain what's happened as succinctly as possible
- not to hang up until the operator tells them it's okay to do so
3. How can parents and carers prepare children for making a 999 call?
You should make sure your child knows how to make a 999 call and what they would need to say if they ever needed to make one.
This can be achieved in several ways:
Rehearse with your child what they would need to say in an emergency.
You can do this by role-playing and using a toy phone or the buttons on your real phone.
If you do use a toy phone, make sure it has enough buttons for them to operate it easily – if they don't know how to push the right ones, their emergency call will be delayed.
Make sure your child knows their address and telephone number off by heart.
This way, they won't have to panic if they can't remember them in an emergency.
In an emergency, it is always a good idea for children to have something to focus on – like a specific task or question they can ask the operator. This will help keep them calm and on track.
Explain to them what each of the emergency services do, and why it's important to call 999 if there's a fire, for example.
If they know what each service is and why it's needed, this will help them to decide which one to call in an emergency, however, in most instances that shouldn't be necessary - the operator will know and can tell your child what to do next.
Reinforce the idea that 999 is for emergencies only – if there's no immediate danger, your child should leave the phone down and find you or another adult.
Remember: If your child needs help, the most important thing is for them to stay safe and to get emergency services on the phone as quickly as possible.
By preparing them in advance, you can help ensure that they know what to do in an emergency.
The 999 emergency number should be taught to children from a young age, as it could save their or someone else's life one day.
4. Why it's important to teach children about safety in the home
It's important to teach children about safety in the home because it can help keep them safe from potential dangers.
It will make a massive difference to their safety if they know how to dial 999 in an emergency and what to say, as well as understanding basic health and safety measures for when they're home alone.
This way, you can rest assured that your child will be able to take care of themselves and get help if they need it.
Children need to be taught about things such as how to call for help in an emergency, what to do if there's a fire, and how and when to use household appliances.
By teaching your child about safety in the home, you're giving them the knowledge they need to stay safe – and that could one day save their life.
5. Some tips on what parents can do to help their child feel safe at home
There are some things that parents can do to help their child feel safe at home:
- Ensure that your child knows where you are at all times, and how to get in touch with you. This way, they'll know that they can always get help if they need it.
- Create a list of emergency numbers and post it near your phone or better yet, make sure it has been programmed into the phone just to be safe). This will ensure that your child has easy access to emergency numbers in case of an emergency.
- Make sure all the appliances in your home are safe and work properly.
- If you're not sure whether an appliance is safe, don't use it – get it checked by a professional.
- Talk to your child about what they should do if they feel unsafe or scared.
- If your child feels unsafe, they should go to a trusted adult and tell them what's happening.
- Create a safe space for your child in their bedroom – this could be a place where they can go if they feel scared or need some time to calm down.
- By doing these things, you're helping your child to feel safe and secure in their own home.
The most important thing to remember when teaching children safety is to always have an emergency plan in place.
By preparing your child for possible dangers, you're giving them the knowledge they need to stay safe and feel secure at home.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact your local emergency services - they will be able to point you in the right direction.
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