We were at the local summer fair, yesterday, with the children, and I was chatting to Big Girl, about what she needed to do, if she got lost, or couldn’t find us, in the busy crowds and stalls. We had a chat about her either finding the First Aid Stall and asking them for help, or going to the Police tent and telling them she was lost, and she knows our address and postcode. She hasn’t quite memorised my mobile number yet, but we are working on that.
It struck me, that I want to and need to teach her some basics of what to do in an emergency situation, either if she was lost, or hurt herself, or with someone who was hurt or needed help. I have a very vivid memory of being pregnant with Small Boy, struggling with the effects of Hyper Emersis Gravidarum, and unfortunately, one morning, was feeling so unwell, I passed out, on the floor of the bathroom. Big Girl was with me, and thankfully, I came round after a few minutes to see her very concerned little face, tears pouring, wanting to know why I wouldn’t wake up? I was very lucky that a good friend, who lives close by was able to come, after I got Big Girl to get me my phone, so I could call her, and sent her down to open the door, when the friend arrived so she could help me, and fortunately we were all fine. But I got a fright, and so did Big Girl. I decided to show her, how to call for help, on my phone. The easiest way was to teach her to dial 999, and hit the green call button, and at three and a half, and being bright, she learned how to do this very easily, and I taught her to say her name, and to tell the person on the other end of the phone what was happening. I know, that if a child calls 999 the emergency operators will be concerned and will check up and ensure that the child is safe and not in a dangerous or concerning situation, and will send help or someone to check, if they cannot speak to an adult to confirm if the child is safe and all is well. Thankfully, we never had to use this trick, but she does know, now, how to dial for the emergency services and to ask for the police, fire or ambulance, and she knows our address and postcode. She knows how to use both phones to do this. I think this in important thing, to teach children, when they reach an appropriate age and ability. She also knows who to ask, for help, when we are out and about, if she isn’t with me, something I will talk about more in Part 2
I also am planning to sign her up for a First Aid course, for children. Unfortunately, First Aid is not taught in schools as part of the curriculum, although I know the Red Cross is campaigning for it to be added and taught, so in the Autumn, she will be going to a course, to teach her first aid, and basic skills, which hopefully she will never have to use, but will be helpful and useful skills for her, should she ever be in a situation where she or someone else needs them. I have also found a company that prints little cards with a child’s name, address, parents contact number and details on, and emergency details like allergies, medications etc, which are laminated, to put in the children’s pockets, and for Big Girl to keep, for if she ever needs it.
So, what have you taught your children, and at what age? Obviously, what one family feels is appropriate for their child(ren) is not what another family may feel works for them, and ages and levels of ability to deal with a situation also depend on a child’s age and at developmental stage. I wouldn’t expect Small Boy to be able to call for help, using the phone, now, whereas Big Girl aged 3.5 was able to dial the phone and tell her name clearly. I will teach him, in a few months.
I’d love to hear what other parents think about this? HAs your child ever had to call for help, or dial 999 to get the emergency services to come, did you have to face something like this as a child, how do you feel about it now?
In part 2, I will be chatting about Stranger Danger, and teaching my children awareness of the people around them, and how to deal with things that they don’t feel comfortable with.