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Why you should teach your kids HOW to call 911...

I was talking with my kids earlier today and what to do if an emergency came up. So we talked through the topic, and I asked them if they knew what to do in an emergency. They both answered right away, "Call 911!" Great, I responded and asked them how...

They both said again, to "just call 911."

A little more questioning revealed they both knew to call 911, but not HOW to actually do it.

I pulled out my cell phone to show them. (We don't have a house phone, because....who even has one anymore?)

I handed my son the phone and told him to try and call. Well after some taps, swipes, and various other gestures, he never actually got to the point of dialing. In fact, he got stuck trying to get to the actual keypad to dial on a locked iPhone. Realizing this was a huge issue if there was a real emergency we got to work learning.

I took them through the actual steps of how to navigate Apple's home button, or Face ID functions (we had two phones to work from; one with Face ID and with a home button).

We went through the steps on how to select the "Emergency" section on a locked phone and dial 911 (see the steps below!)

I didn't let them call of course. I chose to teach them the locked-phone version way of doing this, because they're going to be around more locked phones in their day-to-day lives than unlocked. Teachers, grandparents, friends, etc.

After we got the basics down, I had them both practice getting to the point of typing 911 on the keypad, but not actually calling. We talked about hitting the call button, if this were a real emergency though. Randomly throughout the rest of the day I continued to interrupt their play to have them "call 911" due to some made up emergency. Eventually, after a few random drills, I was satisfied they could both call 911 if an emergency occurred.

I'll continue to do this on random days, just to keep them proficient. Think of it like a fire drill. When they're older and have their own phones, this probably won't be an issue, but as long as they're little I'll keep at it.

I'm fortunate to work in the same building as our area's 911 dispatch center, so I actually pretended to be a dispatcher a few of the times. I used the same language they use when asking for the address of someone that calls 911. I made sure my kids could say our address and answer basic questions.

This may seem like a lot of effort, but it really isn't. Kids are very intuitive when it comes to learning tech. Plus this is a very important skill to have, so be sure to spend a little bit of time. They will even have fun learning something that also keeps them safe!

In short- teach your kids HOW to actually call 911.

You never know, it may save their life, your life, or someone they're with someday.

***Share this with parents you know!***

For those interested in the exact steps:

1. Attempt to unlock the phone (either by tapping the home button or letting Face ID scan your face and not recognize you). This will pop up a spot to enter the code to unlock the phone.

2. In the bottom left portion of the keypad you will see "Emergency"- tap this

3. This will bring up a keypad. Dial 911 and use the green call button.

***Do NOT do this unless there is an emergency***

Share this with parents you know!

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