Teaching Children about 911

Teach Your Children How & When to Call 911

  • Always tell them to dial "nine-one-one", never refer to this emergency number as "nine-eleven". There is no such number as "eleven" on the telephone and a child may easily become confused in the process of dialing.
  • Teach your children to trust the 911 operator - explain to them that 911 is their friend and a source of help to them during an emergency.
  • Teach your children their home address, phone number, and full name.
  • Advise your children about any possible emergency situation likely to occur at your home or location. Explain what things to look out for.
  • If a member of the family has a medical condition, tell your children how to identify these symptoms, i.e., person not breathing or suddenly collapsing, etc.
  • Instruct the child to call 911 should these symptoms occur.
  • Carefully explain to your children that 911 is for an emergency and that an emergency is when they need to get law enforcement, the fire department or paramedics in a hurry.
  • Also explain that 911 is not a toy or a game and should never be played with unless it is actually needed.
  • Teach your child if they "accidentally dial 911" do not hang up. If you hang up, we will send a police officer to your home to make sure everything is alright.
  • Possibly use the classic "Crying Wolf" story and relate it to the use of 911. However, at the same time you must avoid discouraging a child from using 911. Any time that they think they need to call, encourage them to use 911, even if they are in doubt.