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To ask when did you teach your children about 999?

30 replies

QuestioningStuff · 04/09/2015 18:36

I realise this isn't an AIBU, forgive me as I'm posting for traffic.

I'm a lone parent to 2 boys. My eldest is 3. I suffer from anxiety so don't always know when I'm panicking unreasonably, but one of my biggest worries that I can't shake at the moment is that something will happen to me while we're at home and nobody will know.

DS1 is very smart for his age and I feel confident that he could dial 999 and ask for help if he knew how to, but I'm unsure how to talk to him about it. He can be sensitive sometimes and I don't want to freak him out as I suppose I'll need to specify the circumstances in which he'd need to call 999?

How do I approach this or am I being ridiculous?

OP posts:

RealityCheque · 04/09/2015 18:40

He is old enough.

Start the subject with something like Fireman Sam?


SpendSpendSpend · 04/09/2015 18:40

At 3 hes too young to know to dial 999 responsibly.

I dont ever remember being taught to dial 999 as a child.


YerTiz · 04/09/2015 18:41

My ds - now nearly 5 - learned through watching fireman sam Grin

As annoying as that programme is, it has some good lessons re. calling for help (and then I explained dialing that number would also get police, ambulance etc).


Spotifymuse · 04/09/2015 18:42

Not ridiculous at all.
Have a discussion about what would happen if he or you fell down and hurt yourselves or needed somebody to come and help quickly. I had a couple of toy ambulances and used those when playing with the kids to start the discussion.
When he's ready you can make sure he knows his address.
Hopefully you won't ever need him to call the number but it helps to be prepared.


QuestioningStuff · 04/09/2015 18:44

He knows our address and how to use our phone. My main concern is trying to convey to him what constitutes a medical emergency. I thought about saying if mummy is sleeping and he can't wake me up to call 999 and tell them that. But that's possibly too vague?

OP posts:

MaxieMouse · 04/09/2015 18:45

Fireman Sam here as well, when he was about 3. It was pretty easy to explain it to him, but since he never had the opportunity to put it into practice I've got no idea if the lesson was learnt at that age or not. My main worry was that he was going to dial 999 for fun once he's learnt how to do it.


RhinestoneCowgirl · 04/09/2015 18:46

I don't think it's ridiculous, it's something I've definitely talked about with my DC.

Fireman Sam or using toys sounds like good age appropriate ways of starting the conversation.


WhetherOrNot · 04/09/2015 18:46

My son knew how to call 999 when he was just 4. He knew our address as well.


goodasitgets · 04/09/2015 18:48

They can and do learn at 3. Please please teach them though not to use if not an emergency or if they do it's ok to say they don't need help (school holidays = influx of hoax callers saying someone is dead/shot/stabbed...)
Teach them if you can to use landline first so we can get the address as well


PHANTOMnamechanger · 04/09/2015 18:49

I agree he is old enough to know about 999. What it is for, and how it must never be misused. Fireman Sam is a great idea for teaching him.
Many little children have bravely, calmly and without fear, upset or panic, called the emergency services and saved their parent/carers lives. Parents with diabetes, epilepsy etc, or who have had a sudden and unexpected accident/illness.

(Hearing the recordings of their calls always brings a lump to my throat. Soppy sod that I am Grin )


goodasitgets · 04/09/2015 18:50


listsandbudgets · 04/09/2015 18:51

DD was nearly 4. I taught her the number, talked to her about the sort of circuumstances when she may need to use it and made sure she could recite the first line of our address and post code.

The next day I walked into the sitting room and found her on the phone saying "I'm just practising, mummy showed me yesterday". Thankfully operator was very kind about it and told her she had to have a good reason for calling not just for practise Grin Glad to say she's never called it since for practise or any other reason


QuestioningStuff · 04/09/2015 18:52

Yes hearing those recordings always makes me cry too. I hope with all my heart he'll never be in that situation I just don't want something to happen to me and my children to be left in the house with nobody looking after them! Fireman sam is a good idea.

OP posts:

VinylScratch · 04/09/2015 18:56

I've told my 4 year old about it, that if the grown up in charge of her has an accident and she can't wake them up she is to phone 999, she knows our address too although I know they can trace calls from landlines.


Every1KnowsJeffHesUsuallyACunt · 04/09/2015 19:00

Ds was 2 when I started talking to him about what to do in an emergency and not to be scared but to act quickly. He grasped it by 3. I also taught him my first name and our address in case he needed to direct them. And how to unlock my phone because we don't have a landline.

We've never had an emergency but it makes me feel better to know that he knows.

I've since taught them all around the same sort of age but ds, who's 8 now, knows that he's in charge in a crisis (if he's there) My phone also has a function to ring 'mum' or 'husband' if they can't get the phone unlocked for any reason which helps my peace of mind.


10000Fireflies · 04/09/2015 19:42

There's been a campaign recently to teach children this. Hopefully someone will be on soon with links.


goodasitgets · 04/09/2015 19:54


goodasitgets · 04/09/2015 19:56


QuestioningStuff · 04/09/2015 20:56

goodasitgets perfect thanks so much for the links

OP posts:

GladysTheGolem · 04/09/2015 20:58

My 3 year old has been taught to phone 999 or knock at neighbours if mummy is asleep and won't wake up or is hurt.
He knows our address and first name/surname and where DH works so should hopefully be ok in an emergency.

Thanks for the links goodas!


Doublebubblebubble · 04/09/2015 21:13

I think I told my DD about 999 when she was about 2 1/2. She is now five and knows that if she sees a fire or someone very badly hurt (ie not for a scratch) or if she sees criminal behaviour then she is to call. My mother has type 1 diabetes so she knows what to do if something were to happen with that. She also knows our address like the back of her hand drilled into her from birth and she knows our escape route if there was a fire at our flat (we live on the 1st floor). I've also recently taught her (very very) basic cpr - because for work I went on a 3 day first aid course and she was so intrigued. She has and this maybe because she had health issues as a baby and a toddler always wanted to be a Dr. She practices cpr on her teddy bears. I know that this is a lot for a 5 year old and obviously if me or dh are with her then we wouldn't expect for her to do anything at all. But having said that I think as soon as they are old enough to speak on a phone with confidence - they should know 999. Jmho.


Konserve · 04/09/2015 21:21

I taught them 112 when dc were about 3yo.

112 because it works all over europe, so also when on holiday.


TimeToMuskUp · 04/09/2015 21:28

Mine are 9 and 4 and both know how to dial 999 and give our address. No real reason or logic other than DH works away often for weeks at a time, so if ever I got suddenly ill it'd be nice to think they were equipped to try and handle it.


ProudAS · 04/09/2015 21:42

Children as young as three have been known to call 999 and save their parents' lives. Don't think I knew how at that age though


YeOldeTrout · 04/09/2015 21:48

Still haven't ever taught them this.
Eldest is, er, age 15?
Slips my mind.
Have never dialled it myself, either, of course.

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