You Will Love This! Yay, Kid!

A five-year-old calls 911 when her daddy can’t breathe. Here’s the story, as seen on the Bonnie Hunt Show. A reminder to all of us:

1 – Teach your kids about 911.

2 – Remember what kids are capable of! They can rise to the occasion! (Let’s just hope the kid doesn’t get her own reality show and end up all weird.) — Lenore

33 Responses

  1. Wonderful, and a big compliment to the parents, they must be good examples for not panicking when something unexpected happens, and she is clearly not panicky about strangers

  2. That’s great. Just what we want our kids to be like.

  3. Minor quibble: she didn’t call 911, she just took over. Good call anyway, though.

  4. I don’t have sound on my computer, but from the transcript they showed, it sounds like she’s quite the little thinker / planner. Good listener too. It’s great to see examples of what young kids are capable of.

  5. Right on!

    One thing to keep in mind when teaching young children about calling 9-1-1, is to make sure you say it like this, “Nine, one, one.” I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Nine eleven.” There is no “11” on a phone dial and it can really confuse young kids.

    I start talking to my preschoolers about 9-1-1 when they are 2. You never know when they might need this information.

  6. I don’t think my kids know how to use a modern phone. The last time I let them hold mine for a minute, they permanently re-programed it to speak only Spanish, so that was the end of that. (Still feeling relieved that they didn’t pick Chinese or Arabic.) I only use a Blackberry cell phone (where the numbers are mixed in with letters), and I make very few calls with them around; and those I do make usually don’t involve actual dialing. I know they are considered at a disadvantage because they don’t know “their phone number,” but there is no such thing as “their phone” so it hasn’t been a priority for me. The times, they are a-changin’.

    They do know what 9-1-1 is – that you call it when something seriously bad has happened and help is needed – but they are so into their pretend play, I wonder if they would call it as part of a game, given half the chance. So I guess if I ever choke in the near future, I’ll be out of luck, because they won’t have access to a phone.

  7. SKL – same in our house. No land line, one Blackberry, one iPhone. Maybe my 2 year old will be sophisticated enough at some point to figure out how to call 911 on my iPhone?

    DH and I were just talking about how we can teach our son “phone manners” when neither us, nor our son’s friends, have a phone at home that would ever be answered by the child. No land line, no practice? He can’t even practice with his grandparents – we use skype to talk to them!

  8. Sarah, it strikes me that it’s been a long time since I’ve seen “phone” and “manners” used together like that in a sentence. Times certainly have changed!

  9. We have no landline either. I’m betting my almost 4 year old grandson could probably figure out 911 on my crackberry as I woke up the other morning to find that he’d gotten on Netflix, navigated to the instant queue, and was watching Bolt on my MacBook.

    That said, it was not until reading these comments that I really thought about this…
    No home phone number, no learning that skill.
    My daughter on the west coast communicates with us primarily through facebook, using her smartphone.
    I don’t have Skype, only because no one I would talk to has Skype. My sister and I video chat with our MacBooks.

    So… our phones are our computers, and our computers are our video phones.

    That is just a trip.

  10. That was awesome and Savannah was great. I kind of hope she doesn’t see that video for a long time (fat chance, but still) because there were places where the audience was laughing at things that really weren’t laughable. Often adults will laugh at a kid doing or saying something perfectly reasonable, but thought to be older than their years, or just “cute.” It can be pretty hurtful for the kid, who perceives that they’re being laughed at when they didn’t think mean to do anything funny, which means from their POV they’re being laughed at, in a bad way.

    She did everything right, though, and should be proud of herself.

    Angie

  11. If your only phone is a blackberry, phone, other smart phone, or cell phone – teach your child to use it in an emergency. Teach your child your number and other parents’ numbers. It sickens me, when a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader doesn’t know how to contact their parents.

    I’ve been in a couple of situations were I’ve offered my phone to a child who was lost, or hurt – and they had no idea of a phone number to contact family. I ended up calling the non emergency police number for a child that had fallen off his bike and couldn’t ride home because of a possible broken wrist.

    My 5 yo niece knows her Mom and Dad’s numbers, as well as her own address. She knows how to use both parents’ phones (Blackberry and regular cell) and my Iphone. She is now learning her Nanna’s number (Dad’s mom) and my number.

  12. We don’t have land line service but have a phone plugged into the wall just in case we need to call 911. You don’t have to have service to do that, and you don’t have to know the address either.

  13. You don’t need service to call 911?

    To kherbert, don’t worry, I’m sure my kids will know my phone number before they go to KG. They are 3, but they do know their full name & address, etc. They just don’t have any practical use for my telephone number at this point. However, I can see the point of teaching them how to dial it on their play phones. I think I will do that.

  14. We don’t have a landline either. My 4 year old wanted to go to grandma’s this weekend and I told her to call and ask. She started crying, saying “I don’t have a phone.” I really need to work on teaching her how to use my cell.

    My kid is just gonna be handicapped for these kinds of things. We have a street name that is difficult to pronounce and always needs to be spelled before anyone knows what you’re saying. My child has now very minor speech issues. I haven’t bothered to teach her her address as she can’t say it in a way that anyone would understand what she was saying. I live in Georgia and still have a California cell number. I’ll teach her my number but I wonder how many times people will think she’s making something up since my number is nothing like any number around here and kinda sounds made up.

    The other problem with teaching phone numbers is I don’t know any. I know mine but every other number I use is programmed into my phone. I haven’t bothered to memorize them. It’s sad but if my phone broke, I couldn’t even call my own mother.

    Technology is warping us.

  15. When I was a Sparks leader (that’s the youngest members of Girl Guides here in Canada) we did a meeting on first aid and it included how to call 9-1-1.

    We used an old cell phone so they could practice dialing the number. We made them all go through a call where they had to give their name, home address and phone number to the “dispatcher” . The girls were 5 and 6 years old and all of them knew all of their information and many of them also knew their parent’s cell phone numbers.

  16. Savannah did great! I don’t think she would be embarrassed by people laughing where they did. She has already proven that she is not easily rattled so I don’t think people laughing at her wanting to be properly dressed would upset her.

    We just recently got a home phone but my kids have known our phone # and family’s for a while now. I made sure of it. I get what people are saying about phone manners as I have experienced it, too. I got frustrated with the kids until I realize they were never on the phone! I won’t allow them to have a cell phone and we didn’t have a landline so I did all the talking. I have since gotten the Magic Jack (Awesome!) and started making them make all sorts of phone calls so I could teach them phone etiquette.

  17. For those of you that don’t have a landline. Get one. Just plug it into the wall and your child or anyone, can call 911 on it. No need to go searching for a cell phone or a blackberry if its not right there. And yes, you don’t need a service to be able to call 911 from landline. Plug it in and check it out, they won’t mind getting a call testing to make sure it works, I know – I’ve done it.

  18. Off-contract cell phones can be used to call 911 as well.

  19. We have no landline but our 2 oldest (5 and 2 1/2) BOTH know my # and address (house # and street name) by heart, as well as how 2 dial 911 from both phones. I have a droid so it takes a few pushing of touch screen buttons to get to the dial pad. It is invaluable to make sure your kids learn these things no matter what the phone situation is. I also write my # on all 3 kids arms when out at places like the zoo etc. Please teach your kids the basics even if they aren’t allowed 2 play with your cell.

  20. No, SKL, you don’t need service to call 911. That’s the advantage of it. (How are you, btw?)

  21. I’m surprised so many of you don’t have a landline, especially when it takes ages for kids to be “old enough” to get a cellphone of their own.

    Teaching them the right numbers and their home address is invaluable. It’s invaluable for yourself too. Instead of relying on your cell’s phonebook, learn the most important numbers by heart. You’ll be glad you did, when the phone breaks or runs out of battery power.

    I was once standing in a strange city with a dead phone and couldn’t find the address I was supposed to go to and the people in the area didn’t know either. Turns out I misremembered the street name, but luckily I had my mother’s number remembered so I could ask her to check.

  22. Hm, I wonder why I never knew you don’t need service to dial 911? I guess it’s not surprising that the phone company didn’t mention that little tidbit . . . .

    I do think it’s time my 3-year-olds started learning my phone number for safety reasons, only because I am just now allowing them out of my sight in public places. It won’t take them long to learn. But not every toddler/preschooler has the ability to memorize a phone number. It’s great if your child has done so, but not so great to look down on those who haven’t. When that’s the prevailing attitude, you never know when the tables could be turned.

    It’s wonderful that we occasionally hear of a case where a wee child has used 911 the right way. On the other hand, I am not too keen on the idea of teaching my 2-3 year old that my safety could be in her hands instead of the other way around. Maybe I’m a little more wary of this since my kids were adopted around age 1, and I had to take a different path toward getting them to trust me as their source of nurturing and protection. My kids still ask me questions about the permanence of our family, and also, they are learning about death and wondering about that too.

    Or maybe all this is rationalization because I really don’t want them to program my phone to speak Arabic the next chance they get . . . . Seriously, I don’t see how you tell a 3-year-old that she’s allowed to push these buttons on the Blackberry but never those buttons. I mean, my kids are pretty well-behaved but even they will do the exact opposite of what I say in the presence of an attractive nuisance.

    And as for not being as plugged in as others, well, that’s kinda like not having the TV on. I personally dislike talking on the phone, so I don’t see it as a high priority to get my kids talking on it early and often. How do Amish kids (who are relatively free-range) survive to adulthood without ever touching a telephone? Hmm.

  23. Oh, and I have completely forgotten my best friend’s number, thanks to the functionality of the Blackberry. Occasionally I tell myself that I should re-learn it, but I never get around to it. I do, however, remember the phone number of the house I lived in when I was in KG . . . .

  24. SKL – On my phone I have a password so it’s protected from use by others (including reprogramming by curious little hands). But you can still dial emergency services without knowing the password. I believe this is a requirement for mobile phones in the UK but you might see if it’s how your blackberry works too.

    I keep telling myself I have to learn a few numbers. I realized the other day that if I were to lock myself out of my apartment in the day without my bag my alternatives are basically to walk for an hour to my in-laws (and hope they are in) or wait for my husband to get home at night!

  25. @SKL: You asked: “How do Amish kids (who are relatively free-range) survive to adulthood without ever touching a telephone? Hmm.”

    Let me be very clear. I’m not too keen on mobile phones myself and only got my current one because it had its simlock removed and a very cheap service ready to go.

    You don’t need to worry your kids about the permanence of your family just yet even when you teach them to use a phone. There’s plenty of kid-friendly ways to distinguish between incidents that require parents, a doctor, or an ambulance. You can even teach them to contact someone else if you can’t help them for whatever reason. Said person could ask them what the problem is and take appropriate action.

    Regarding the Amish kids. I suspect that they are though to get the village doctor in case of an emergency…

  26. A bit off topic, but it’s a myth that the Amish don’t use phones. The Amish adopt technology when it suits them, and do so in a way which doesn’t disrupt their way of life. With phones, they’ll generally have one, but it’ll be out on the porch, or in a kiosk type arrangement across the road, so it’s there if they need to call an ambulance, but they don’t use it to chat.

    Also keep in mind that the Amish are much more intensely community oriented than the mainstream society, so in an emergency they’d have no problem finding help nearby, whether with extended family who live in a house on the same property, or with neighbors who’ll be happy to drop what they’re doing and help if someone’s in trouble.

    Angie

  27. Well, the Amish vary. Some of the stricter ones will not have phones on their own properties, but nearly all of them will use a phone at the neighbor’s, or a public phone (though those are vanishing!) But yes, they can usually find adult help quickly, and in most cases can get to someone who has a phone or will let them use it fairly easily. And yes, they are not so much averse to technology per se, as averse to having it invade their way of life. So except the very strictest sects, which are rare and small, they are quite willing to make use of what’s available even if unwilling to make it a regular part of their lives.

  28. OK, the girl is calmer and more competent than most adults. She’s also fashion conscious and considerate. She’s thinks through the situation, even mentioning that the dog is no threat to the rescuers. She listens to instructions well, and follows them, even when they interfere with her changing into more appropriate clothing. She took firm charge of her father’s well being, reassuring him in his distress.

    She’s hired!

  29. How Adorable. I know that’s not the point of this post, but I want to snuggle her.

  30. One way to teach your kids your phone number–sign up for one of those grocery store discount cards (if you haven’t already) and then, every time you go in, have them punch in the number on the payment machine at the store (most stores let you input your phone number instead of swiping your card.) Even if you have to hold them up so they can reach the screen, they like to feel grown-up by helping and showing what they know, and it gives them the opportunity to practice putting the number in.

  31. We are actually going over this with my children right now. I was recently diagnosed with a severe food allergy. They have to learn the proper way to call 911 and what to say. My boys(ages 11 & 10) will be learning how to give me my Epi-Pen, just in case I cannot do it myself.

    I love the idea of them having to do the numbers at the grocery store. That is a very good idea.

  32. […] 5-year old girl in Indiana called 911 when her dad experienced chest pains. She remained calm and stayed on the line for nearly ten […]

  33. I love those sexy girls , they make me happy … I would love to read more , please write more and thank you

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