In Case of Emergency: Does Your Child Know What To Do?

Tragedy Strikes. Does your child know what to do? I imagine the answer is probably “it depends” – on the emergency, on your location, on your child’s age.

A month ago, my answer would have probably been “maybe” but now I know the answer is “yes” – because we practiced what to do in case of an emergency. In the past we talked about different scenarios – getting out of the house in a fire, going to a neighbor’s house if something was wrong with mom or dad, but that was about it.

And then I had an “episode” a few months ago – I got very confused and had some memory loss. Thankfully my husband was home. And thankfully I came out of it and was fine within in an hour.

But my husband travels a lot for work. And after having three more of these “episodes” that currently don’t have a diagnosis or a cause {we’re working on that} – I realized there is a real possibility my kids might need to call for help.

So, I practiced with my 8-year-old. We went over a few different scenarios. She has an iPad with Messenger Kids so we talked about how she could use that to tell her friend {our neighbor} to tell her parents if an emergency arose. But we needed a better plan than that. So, she practiced opening my phone {sliding up to get to the code screen was harder for her than I expected} with my code, getting to the contacts, and finding my sister’s number. We went over who else she could call from my contacts list. And most importantly, we talked about how to call 9-1-1. I also put our address on the refrigerator.

It might seem like overkill, and I hope it is. But I also want her to be prepared if I don’t come out of one of these episodes, or if some other kind of emergency happens. As we were practicing, I couldn’t help but think things were easier when I was growing up – I had a giant brown phone with a long spiral cord on the wall that I could pick up and simply dial 9-1-1. I know you big hair, NKOTB loving mamas know what I’m talking about!

But times aren’t so simple. People don’t have landlines anymore. And there are security measures to keep kids out of your phone.

Do your kids know what to do if they need to use your phone or another device in an emergency? One month ago, I could tell you we had talked about what to do in an emergency, we were working on memorizing our address, but we weren’t ready for an emergency. Maybe I’m in the minority and most people do practice these types of things with their kids. Or maybe you’re young and healthy so it doesn’t feel necessary. Well, it didn’t seem necessary to us either, until it was. We can’t plan for when emergencies happen, but we can prepare for what to do if they happen. Don’t be like me and wait until something bad happens to realize you need to talk to your kids. You don’t need to scare your kids, but you can prepare them.

Here are the steps we took to prepare our kids in case of an at-home emergency:

  • Put your address on the refrigerator {or somewhere easily seen} – Even if they have it memorized, if there is an emergency, they might get scared and forget. This will ensure they have the information when they need it.
  • Practice opening and unlocking your phone – Every device is a little different and it took my daughter several attempts to get to the lock screen.
  • Navigating to the dial screen – Practice getting to the screen where they would need to call 9-1-1 from.
  • Navigating to the contacts – I have a list of Favorites that has my sister and other local people my kids can call, so I had my daughter locate the names of people she could call.
  • Other Devices? Does your child have Messenger Kids or another app/game they use to talk to people? Discuss what other apps and who your child could contact on the app for help
  • Neighbors – Do you have neighbors who you talk to often and trust? Let your kids know whose house they could go to for help. I think it is especially important for little ones who can’t quite figure out how to use the phone yet.

My hope is that my children never have to actually use what we practiced. But I feel better preparing them and hoping for that than hoping they know what to do in an emergency without any practice. 

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Hi, I’m Jodie! I live in Williamston with my husband Chris and three girls: Francesca, and twins, Amelia and Annabelle. Since graduating from Central Michigan University (Fire Up, Chips!), I have worked full-time in the world of corporate communications, for 15 years. I also serve on the Galactosemia Foundation board, where I advocate for my two daughters living with the rare metabolic disease. I love Jesus, but I cuss a little and I drink coffee until wine is acceptable. When I can find a minute, I blog about my crazy, blessed life – often the hard stuff, but always with humor (and often a little sarcasm) at I can’t wait to start sharing my life and learnings with the Mid-Michigan Moms community!


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