Teaching your little ones how to survive in the world is the most important task of parenting. When it comes to educating them on emergencies, knowing how and when can be difficult. Walking the line of what material is age-appropriate and the best approach calls for some careful consideration. Here is a brief rundown of how to introduce children to emergency preparedness.
Introducing Emergency Safety To Children
While it may be tempting to protect young ones by downplaying seriousness, they must recognize dangerous situations and know how to react. Start by reviewing what constitutes a crisis. Is Mommy on the floor not talking about an emergency? How about a sibling picking on you? Depending on age, instructing them on which scenarios can be identified as an emergency is often the first step.
Next, it’s advised to develop a family communication plan. Have your child memorize a parent’s phone number to call when something goes wrong. Around 4 to 5 years old, a child is typically developmentally ready to remember all the digits. It can help turn the numbers into a modified version of a lullaby or song. Also, having children learn to recite their full names and address is another step to emergency readiness. However, they must also be taught not to give such information to strangers.
After they’ve learned how to contact you, it’s time to properly teach them how to contact 911. Begin by describing what the service is and how it works. Explain that it’s essential to know when it’s appropriate to call and what to say. You can role-play scenarios. Use simple words, avoid medical terms, and help children understand the seriousness while not frightening them.
Make it clear that calling 911 is never a joke or game and that there are times when it’s more important to first get to safety. This is an excellent opportunity to bring fire safety since getting out of the house can be more imperative than calling. Organize home fire drills and indicate escape routes throughout the house. Run these fire drills routinely as your child ages while exploring additional fire safety guidelines. To make the event of a fire, to hear alarms, and see firefighters less scary, you can take the little one on a firehouse tour.
Other preparedness advice would be to create an emergency kit together. Explain why the items are necessary and what each one does. The same goes for a first-aid kit. Teaching basic first-aid skills can start young. If your children are still too little, instruct them on how to show an adult, such as a babysitter, where it’s located in case of injuries at home.
Encourage your children to talk and ask questions throughout each stage. How well they understand could mean the difference between life and death. For further tips on emergency safety, please see the accompanying resource.
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