How to Tell If Your Child Knows What to Do in an Emergency

How to Tell If Your Child Knows What to Do in an Emergency


It’s something we hope will never happen, but it’s also a reality we can’t avoid. Every day we see news stories or social media posts about kids who found themselves in an emergency and knew exactly what to do. We at NCT9-1-1 call them Kid Heroes, and though they stepped up to the plate and showed incredible bravery, they were also well prepared by their parents to handle an emergency.

If seeing these news stories makes you wonder if your own child would be prepared to handle an emergency, we’re glad you’re reading this post. We’ve outlined some basic questions you can ask yourself to find out if your child would know what to do in an emergency.

Do they know how to call 9-1-1?

Some parents assume 9-1-1 is an easy, self-explanatory skill they can teach in five minutes, but the act of physically punching 9-1-1 into a phone is just the first step. Kids need to know the different ways they can call 9-1-1, how to rely their location if they’re in an unfamiliar place, and what to say to the call taker.

If you need help teaching your child how to call 9-1-1 in an emergency, you can download our digital guide “4 Steps to Teaching Your Kid 9-1-1” here. It covers everything you need to know to start this very important conversation.

Do they know what an emergency is?

It may sound like a pointless question, but does your child recognize an emergency? It’s important to go over what qualifies an emergency situation with your child so they know when to get help.

Teach them the signs of an emergency:

  • If they see fire or smoke
  • If someone is unconscious or not breathing
  • If someone is hurt or bleeding

If your child doesn’t know what an emergency is, they won’t know what to do if they find themselves in one.

Do you know what do?

Kids mimic their parents, and if you know how to handle and emergency, it will be easier for them to learn. Does your family have an emergency plan for a fire or natural disaster? Have you talked about what you child should do if they get lost? Or if something were to happen at their school?

The secret to dealing with a potential emergency is planning. Sit down and talk to your child about scary situations they might find themselves in and ways they can get themselves out. These scenarios can vary from a house fire to a car accident to a threat at their school. Cover all possibilities, but remind them that these situations are rare. You’re not trying to scare them, but to help them understand that the best way to stay safe is to be prepared.

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