Proceed with caution on this post…or else the 9-1-1 dispatchers might have it out for me with all the little ones accidentally dialing 9-1-1! Before your child learns to dial 9-1-1, he/she needs to know what constitutes an emergency. Obviously, an emergency in the eyes of a 3-year old might look vastly different than what an adult constitutes as an emergency (losing your Skittles is NOT an emergency, thank you very much).
Talk with your child about what an emergency might look like…a fire inside the house, a person who looks hurt and isn’t responding when you try to talk to them, etc. Then tell them that if something like that should EVER happen (and ONLY when something like this happens), they have a very, very important job. They need to go get the phone and dial 9-1-1.
I have created this printable of a phone for you to practice with first. If your child does not already recognize the numbers “9” and “1”, point them out on the paper telephone. If your phone requires you to press “talk” or “on” make sure you include that step as well.
Next, disable the connection on your phone and allow him/her to practice on the actual telephone. Pretend like your the 9-1-1 dispatcher and ask the sort of questions you might hear, “What’s your emergency?”. Have fun with it, but at the same time convey the importance that it is NOT A GAME. This would also be a great time for your child to start learning your address and phone number.
Have you taught your child how to dial 9-1-1? If so, at what age?