Twice a year we do a little class with our swimmers on how to respond in an emergency in and out of the water. This includes the cry ‘Call for help, call 000’. In preparing these lessons this week a creeping suspicion began to grow. When we were all children calling 000 was as easy as picking up the receiver and pressing 0 three times. It’s a lot more complicated to make a phone call now. I asked my 6 year old son to show me how to make an emergency call.
‘Call for help! Call 000’ he crowed. He’s been well prompted over the years.
I gave him my phone and asked him to show me how to call 000. He looked at it blankly. He unlocked it past my passcode and then continued to look blankly at all the little icons. I realized that he had never made a call from my phone. I realized that he had never made a call from our home phone (a cordless like most of us have). I realized that he is probably no different to the vast majority of 6 year olds.
During this week I asked the same question of our swimmers and got similar answers. If they did know how to navigate to the phone application they didn’t know to press the green call button after dialing 000 to connect the call.
To help teach your child how to make a phone call to 000 help them understand how to navigate your phone.
Show your children how to do this.
Don't do it for them.
Give them the phone and talk them through it.
Get them to do it three times in a row.
Explain to your children how to navigate from this screen to the keypad by pressing the icon that looks like a lot of buttons and is named Keypad.
A good prompt when teaching them this is
'Call 000, then Green to go!'.
The second step in preparing a child in case of emergency is preparing a Plan B – run for help.
What if you can’t make the call?
What is the battery is flat?
What if you forget how to use the phone?
Answer – run to an adult for help.
This week my favorite answer to the question ‘Who will you run to for help?’ was ‘Santa, he’s my best friend’.
In all seriousness children need a plan of action in an emergency. They need a clear plan of action to avoid panic.
Choose a next door neighbour that would be appropriate for your children to run to for help. Someone who lives close by – next door or across the street. Someone they can run to for help if they can’t call for help.
Enforce the lesson. Talk to your chosen neighbour (or 2) about your child using them as a trusted adult in case of emergency. Then walk the walk.
Walking the walk: Take your child by the hand and walk with them to the neighbour. If you’re crossing a street take the opportunity to say ‘Let’s stay calm, look both ways for cars’.
When you get next door have your child knock on the door themselves and when your neighbor answers have your child ask –
“If I had an Emergency, will you help me?”
Walking the walk will much better prepare your child in an emergency situation than just talking about it. Take the opportunity to go next door at least a few times a year and have your children ask the question.
We would all hope that our children are never in the situation of having to cope in an emergency on their own. These lessons are not designed to scare your child – They don't need to be talked about in a serious scary tone, keep it light and 'hey, just in case this happened, what would we do?'.
Eaton Swim School: Swimming Lessons for children in Bunya, Ferny Hills, Arana Hills, Ferny Grove, Everton Park, Albany Creek, Aspley and surrounds. We are very flattered that children as far away as Cabooluture and Graceville travel to our swim school.