9-1-1: Do Your Children Know What to Do in an Emergency?


As mothers and fathers, we want to protect our children from as much as we can. There are situations that come up that are hard and difficult that we can help walk them through but sometimes we cannot protect them from situations in life that just happen. What happens when this situation is an emergency? Would they call us? Would I be able to answer? Would they know how to call 9-1-1?


This is the exact situation that I found myself on one Friday afternoon. My five-year-old was home from preschool because he had his tonsils taken out on Monday. He was actually well enough to go to school that day, but I kept him home because I missed spending time with him. He should not have been home, but I am ever so thankful that he was.  

I fainted…..

likely truly fainted….

When I came too, there were paramedics and fireman surrounding me, electrodes on my chest, blood pressure cuffs, and finger pricks for my blood sugar.  The results were 40. I had an unexplained episode of severe hypoglycemia. (For reference, blood sugar should be between 70 -120. Below 70 is considered low.  Below 54 is considered severe hypoglycemia.) I had likely been passed out for over 30 minutes when I came back too. 

Indianapolis emergency services

I can only imagine how absolutely terrified my children where when they found their ‘mommy’ unresponsive on the floor. I was the situation that was difficult and hard, but I had prepared my five-year-old.  I had taught my five-year-old how to check if someone was unresponsive. I had taught my five-year-old to check for a pulse. I had taught my five-year old how to swipe up for emergency dial from my iPhone. I had taught him my passcode. I had taught him our address. I had taught him how to know who was a paramedic and firefighter. 

Knowledge gives skills.

These skills I taught him because I thought that he might need to know for his brother someday. (Our three children all have epilepsy. (Click here to read more about the Purple Trio.) My five-year-old used those skills to save my life that day. He called 9-1-1, gave our address, and rendered his mom first aid in the midst of being terrified because knowledge is power. Knowledge does not erase fear.  Knowledge allows one to push fear to the side.  Knowledge is confidence. Knowledge brings comfort. Knowledge brings safety. Knowledge is what we can give our children to face situations without us or because of us.

I asked Brittany Downs (a local mom, paramedic, owner and operator of The Wandering Heart LLC and Heart Savers Kids Club) what she thought kids and parents should know.

“With cardiovascular disease on the rise, it’s important not only for adults to know how to recognize an emergency and perform CPR, but especially for children as well! I’ve taught kids as young as 4 yrs old, and they are phenomenal! Most important things to teach your kids at home, is how to check if a person is breathing, how to call 911 (even from a locked phone), tips to telling dispatch where they are (like memorizing their address, or looking at house numbers or mail, etc), and how to do chest compressions while staying on the phone with dispatch until help arrives. Kids are little sponges, and retain so much more than we give them credit for. They make amazing little First Responders, and I truly believe that with the right tools, they will be key in saving the life of a loved one.” 

Here are some additional tips:

  • Create a medical ID on your phone
  • Teach your children your address
  • How to recognize a paramedic or firefighter
  • Program your child’s fingerprint into your phone.
  • Practice emergency situations

Disclaimer: This is not an all extensive list, but rather suggestions that I have from personal experience. 

My hope is that this story will have yourselves asking if your child(ren) would be prepared for an emergency.  If not, will you please consider teaching them? I hope no child ever needs to call 9-1-1 to get help for their parents, but if they need to, I hope that they have the knowledge to do so.