I never want to leave this one and her big sister helpless.

THE other night I had a pain in my chest. It frightened me. So much so, I realised if something happened to me at that moment, three-year-old Ella and her eight-month-old baby sister Holly would be helpless. Ella has no idea what to do in an emergency.

So, after assuring myself it was a touch of indigestion, I Facebooked. As you do. You can read the full transcript on the TLP Facebook page.

Sharna: My kids always knew 000 from younger than pre-school just incase. They were also told of the massive consequences if they rang it for no reason. It was rung once or twice and the people on the other end were happy that the kids knew what to do, but asked them not to do it unless it was an emergency. What about a number on speed dial? Like Daddy is 1, other people other numbers. Maybe change the numbers for coloured dots. Does she know dad’s fave colour?

Sheralee: We have numbers programmed into our phone so all you need to do, for instance, is hold down the number 2 button and it automatically dials Adam. Maybe even put a dot of colour on the numbers on the phone and a pictures of people on the fridge with their colour next to them.

Barb: Have been a bit slack with Darcy, but when Ellie was about 3 I did some re-enactments where I told her it was a game and that if Mummy fell over or hurt herself and couldn’t talk or move, to go get the phone and call 000. Taught her address and practiced a few times and then did a couple out of the blue to see if she got the gist. First time I feigned collapse she jumped up and down on my guts… not a good result. But next time I tried, she did it perfectly! Worth the peace of mind, for sure.

Sharon: One funny/serious/odd new thing about teaching kids to call “triple O” is that with text messaging so big these days the young are trying to dial “666” as that is the letter “O” button!!! No joke. Tell kids it’s “triple zero”!

So the next day I set about teaching Ella to ring her dad and the emergency number. Whoa, was this a challenge. Because I couldn’t figure out how to work the speed dial function, we drew a picture each to help her navigate the address book. I know, I may as well have taught her to knit with one needle. Much easier.

Two very different versions of what to do in an emergency!

In the end she mastered ringing Dad twice and if he doesn’t answer (obviously in a meeting… or the toilet), ring 000. Then it was onto answering the questions the operator may ask her. Her name? That was easy. What was wrong? “Mummy’s sick’’. OK, that’ll do. Her address? Well, that was a whole new challenge. For the sake of this post, let’s say our address is 7 Hippopotamus Drv, Devonport.

Ella: “Hippopatmus Drv, Devonport’’. That’s fantastic, except we’re missing the all-important house number.

“I don’t know.’’ After explaining that, yes, it’s seven, we tried again.

“7 Hippopotamus Dve, Hobart’’. What? OK, so we’d just been to Hobart for a holiday. Let’s try again.

“Devonport’’ OK, what about the rest of the address? Try again.

“Um, I can’t remember.’’

Oh dear, we’ve hit a hurdle. I must add that, generally, she gets our address first time. I’m wondering if the whole pressure of HAVING to remember it is doing her head in. We’ll keep working on it. Since this conversation, The Bloke in The Shed has promised to work out speed dial for me. In the meantime, their chances of survival are slim and none – and slim just left town.

Have you taught your child what to do in an emergency? What are your tips?

Linking up with Where’s My Glow? for FlogYoBlog Friday.


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29 Responses to FEATURE: I don’t want to leave my daughters helpless

  1. Louisa says:

    Great post & timely reminder for me. Many years ago I was a nanny for a family and on the very first evening I looked after the kids I got locked in the bathroom (they forgot to tell me the lock was broken and I was just on automatic as we always locked the door at home). So it was winter, dark and I was stuck in a toilet with 2 toddlers and a baby on the other side of the door. I told the eldest to get the phone and tried to tell them how to dial a number as my friend lived in the same street and I thought if we could call him he would get us out. Didn’t work. In the end I had to send the two toddlers outside (!!) to the neighbours house (which thankfully they could access from the back door) to get help. I did not stop praying the entire time, I was so worried something would happen to them & I would be stuck, unable to help. Thankfully they made it to the neighbour who came over and eventually freed me. The first thing I did was show the eldest how to use the phone!! It was terribly embarrasing to explain to the parents when they got home.

    • Kel says:

      Oh my goodness, Lou, I’d be beside myself. How frightening. It’s so easy to do though. Glad it had a happy ending. 🙂

  2. Dorothy says:

    That same thing has occurred to me a couple of times. My 8 yo knows all about 000, but I don’t think he knows how to use our phone, or my mobile.

    I guess I’d better teach him. And put some more number on speed dial.

    Thanks for the reminder, Kellie!

    • Kel says:

      Not a drama, Dorothy. That’s brilliant that he already knows 000. Figuring out how to use different phones is always the challenge though, isn’t it? All the best with it. 🙂

  3. Barb says:

    Fabulous post Kellie. I think you’re right, it was probably the pressure that Ella felt that made her forget your address…..apparently kids perform really well under the real circumstances, maybe because they see it more as a game and don’t panic like we would. Well done again xx

    • Kel says:

      Thanks for your contribution, Barb. I love that you’re always willing to share your experiences – and that there’s always something in them that makes me giggle! You made some really good points. And yes, I’m pretty sure she would be right if the time came. Let’s just hope it never does, hey! 🙂

  4. Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been working on the address, but I never thought about 000. I’ll start that lesson today.

  5. rachel says:

    Great idea Kel! We have gone through the whole emergency drill with the Little Emperor and he is quite good at remembering the details but still wonder how he would cope with doing it if the need arose…
    also we are going to be moving soon so i hope nothing happens before he can remember the new address!
    I don’t have numbers on speed dial so i guess that is something i should do…
    hope none of kids ever need to use these skills but certainly is something they must know.

    • Kel says:

      Well done, Rachel. That’s great he already knows what to do. If we really did live at 7 Hippopotamus Drv, I could at least have drawn 7 dots and a hippo to get her to remember where we live, but unfortunately our address isn’t that easy! And yes, we can only hope none of us ever have to worry about our children needing to ring 000. All the best with the move and teaching the Little Emperor his new address! 🙂

  6. This is a great post. To be honest, I’ve not actually thought about this at all, so you bring up an important point. I will be working on this with my girls. As we’re not in our own place and don’t have a landline, I think I will be concentrating on teaching them with the iPhone, which should be good as they are able to use it better than I am!

    • Kel says:

      All the best with it, Becky.
      And yes, I know what you mean about these kids being more adept at the iPhone than us! They’ll be taking over our blogs soon!! hehe!! 🙂

  7. CaZ says:

    I’ve got the numbers all taped to the fridge. Biggest Pink is seven and can use the phone well. She can now even remember our home and mobile numbers. The other two – not so much. Must make sure middle pink can use the phone. Some phone calls to granny coming up I think!!

    • Kel says:

      I’m sure granny won’t be complaining!! hehe!!
      Good luck with it, Caz. It’s a great thing that your Biggest Pink knows what to do and is well capable. xx

  8. Kirsty says:

    I have been teaching our kids their phone number and address and they know that 000 is an emergency number but I’m not convinced they could a) access our phone as it is up high or b) actually make the call and more importantly, tell someone the important details in an emergency. Something I will be working on with them, great reminder. Hoping your indigestion is better now too!

    • Kel says:

      We’re the same with the phone situation, Kirsty. I ended up putting the second cordless phone in a place where she could easily access it. Although, she’s now taken over wanting to answer the phone when it rings. I don’t mind when it’s a telemarketer, of course!!
      And yes thanks, the indigestion was definitely temporary. Thank goodness! 🙂

  9. Cheryl says:

    it does result in random strangers usually in the street knowing your address as they shout it from there little lungs …. but they easiest way i found to teach both our children our addresses was to do it as we were driving home i.e Now we’re turing in to our street … which street do we live in and count down the houses till we get to ours . what number do we live and and what colour is our house … Towards the end when paul was sick i felt the need to teach them incase i wasnt home which was often i was trying to work on his good days . Maya knows now how to work the Iphone Easily but back then i had it programed in to the house phone a little blue telstra touch phone . always pays to be very prepared .

  10. Great post, Kel. My older kids know what to do in an emergency but I’ve been slack with Annabelle. I think it’s because I know that Bill’s not working so it’s not often that I am home alone with her.

    • Kel says:

      You’re so lucky there, Tina. It must be real peace of mind as a mum to have hubby not too far away. And it’s so great that your older kids know what to do. That’s brilliant. 🙂

  11. Suzi says:

    We had to explain in great detail what an ’emergancy’ was. My Mr7 had bad anxiety as a small child and at age 4 or 5 he rang 000 because of a spider – in his book that WAS an immediate emergancy, not waiting long enough to find me at the clothesline to deal with it. *groan* Now we live out bush the kids have had it drummed into them what to do I think we are safe again!

    • Kel says:

      Oh dear, that sounds like The Bloke in The Shed! He’s terrified of spiders. Although, instead of calling 000, he calls me! 😉
      Glad your children know what to do in a real emergency though. That’s fantastic.

  12. Trish says:

    Firstly glad you are ok.It must have been scary
    Last year our preschool was teaching my 4 yr olds twins about triple 0 – to call (well in case of a fire I think never got back to asking) – I didn’t even know he knew it , till a visit to the fire station and one sprouted it off. They had just had a firies visit (one missed it) .

    He forgot it later.

    I will definitely be teaching my boys it now. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Kel says:

      Not a drama, Trish. So glad this post is inspiring people to teach their children about emergencies.
      How fabulous that the preschool taught it to the kids. That’s a great idea. It’s something I might even suggest to Ella’s child care. I think every child would benefit from it. 🙂

  13. It is so true Kel, I don’t know what the eldest would do either. She has just learned how to hang up when someone calls with the cordless phone. We might have to have a play on the pretend phone this afternoon to get her into training.

    • Kel says:

      It’s something you don’t think about until you have to, which is usually too late! Hope the training went well, Kym. I think learning through play is a great idea. 🙂

  14. Glowless says:

    I’ve got no idea about tips, but my parents drilled 000 in to me, same with the address and phone number. To this day I can still remember my very first number.

  15. […] it was just a bit of indigestion. I may have slightly overreacted. It prompted me to write the post I don’t want to leave my daughters helpless about teaching Ella what to do in an […]

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