The readers that follow me on Instagram will recall the story of my friend Jana whose son was hailed a local hero for saving his mum’s life. Jana was driving home as usual after pick up – I’d even chatted with her while we waited for our boys to finish football and all was well. She became unwell whilst driving and barely made it into the house before she collapsed!
Her 7-year-old son was able to call emergency service and comfort his 1-year-old sister whilst they waited for the ambulance. The local police and response team were so pleased with the way he handled the situation and was able to get them to the house that he was hailed a local hero. He has had several newspaper interviews and a television appearance.😊Oh yes, like my son said: “Noah is famous now”. Thankfully she is fine now and the only problem the last time I checked was who Noah would choose as his new best friends – cause he has been approached by a lot of boys who want to be friends with him as “he is the only famous person they know” 😉.
Anyway, this story had me thinking of my boys and wondering how equipped they are to deal with emergencies. God forbid that we find ourselves in one, but the truth is these things do happen.
Being the wonderful person that I am 😛, I have decided to share some important things our children should be aware of based on my research. As usual, please feel free to leave comments. Thank you
- Dialing emergency service: This is very crucial as it could save your life or the life of whoever is with them. From an early age, children should be told what the emergency number is. Of course, this is different in different countries but whatever country you are, make sure your children not only know the emergency number but how to dial it. It is also important to teach them how to assess when it is necessary to dial the number. It should only be dialed when someone needs help right away because of a serious injury or an immediate danger. This should be reiterated and if possible rehearsed often so that whenever the need arises, they are prepared.
- Ensure that your children know important information such as your home address, your name, and your phone number. Phone numbers are sometimes hard to learn – even adults struggle with it. It is important to help them learn it and also write it clearly on a sheet of paper and keep in an agreed safe pouch in their school bag or whatever bag they carry on them when they go out. This is not only necessary for cases where they dial emergency service but also for situations where they have somehow gotten lost they can give details to a responsible adult to call their parents. It even happens in big stores, one minute they are behind you, the next you can’t find them, no matter how young, they should know their parents’ name so it can be announced. It’s just easier for everyone.
- Make sure your children are aware of any allergies/medical conditions in the family. They should be informed of their own allergies as well as that of their parents and siblings. Children should know where allergy cards are kept, this could save a life.
- Practise family evacuation plan, let them know what to do in case of fire or any natural disaster. Talk about these things with your children, some of us think they’re too young and we’re protecting them but from the age of 4, children should be told about emergency situations and how to react. Teach them how to react in case of a burglary, when it is safe to call emergency service or to hide etc.
- Children should be told about the dangers of opening the door for strangers or talking to strangers. Keep all doors locked at all times, and warn them not to open the door for anyone. They should be taught situations in which they should run, hide or scream.
We watched Home-alone with the boys over Christmas and it was a good opportunity to explain different emergency scenarios to them. Even though I got some hilarious superhero kind of response from them on how they will handle emergencies, I also got to explain more situations and how to respond. Watching documentaries about how to respond to emergencies could also help get the message across successfully.
Teenagers and young adults.
Parents of teenagers and older kids, need to give them more information as they are going through the independence stage and would be doing more things without their parents or even without any guidance. I found some good precaution guide on safekids.co.uk and they include:
- Carry a whistle, alarm or even pepper spray.
- Never take short cuts through secluded areas unless in a large group
- Walk facing traffic so a car can’t pull up behind you.
- Always keep valuables well hidden and keep their phones, mp3s out of sight to avoid mugging.
- Do not use any device that requires earphones at night so they can hear when someone is approaching.
- Always ask the name of the driver if they call a taxi and check when it arrives, they should also always sit at the back of a taxi.
- Sit near the driver on a bus and in a busy carriage on a train.
- Learn to say NO to whatever they are not comfortable with no matter who it is.
- Go into a shop or busy place if there’s a suspicion of being followed.
- Report anything unusual to your parent.
And in cases where children are home alone, the following is advised;
- Always have your key ready before you get home. Keep all doors locked once in and let your parents know where you are.
- Keep a chain in the door and answer only if you can see that you know who it is.
- Call your parents and neighbours if worried about anything.
- Do not stay alone with an adult or older teenager unless your parents say it is okay.
I think it is imperative that parents put their children, especially female children through a self-defense class. We live in an unsafe world and unfortunately, young females find themselves preyed on more often than not. A basic self-defense training can go a long way in some situations. Also, let them know to scream for help in threatening situations.
Please if you live in a country where the emergency lines are not reliable, ensure that your children know who to call in case of emergency. Please write numbers of reliable family members and attach to the fridge or wherever they can easily get it from and dial for help.
Most homes these days don’t have landlines and a lot of us use our mobile phones. Please ensure that your children know how to dial emergency numbers on a locked phone. This is because most mobile phones are locked when not in use.
I was informed by my son’s school and also by my son of a lockdown drill at school on what to do in case of an attack. It scared me but that’s the reality of our world now. Not only do we have to be alert but we have to teach our children how to be alert. The schools take them through fire drills, lockdown drills etc. But sadly we don’t train them on how to deal with emergencies at home. They should know basic safety precautions such as;
- not to talk to strangers
- Not to answer the door
- They should know where smoke alarms are and what to do when it goes off.
- Ensure all doors are shut and switches are off before going to bed.
- Know where to find basic first aid kit etc.
- Personal information should not be given to strangers.
You never know when a natural disaster could occur, especially for people who live in disaster-prone areas. It is generally advised that everyone should have a disaster supply kit(parents.com.)
This kit should contain items such as;
- three days (or more) supply of water and non perishable food,
- can opener and other tools
- supplies such as paper cups, plastic utensils and a compass
- First-aid supplies, prescription and non-prescription medication, sanitation products.
- Items for baby like diapers, formula, flashlight, entertainment etc.
It’s a very long list, please check out www.parents.com for more on Natural disasters.
No one prays for emergencies, but they do happen even to the best of us. It is therefore in our own interest to prepare ourselves and our family for such occurrences.
Read Noah’s rescue story herehttps://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/17410241.petts-wood-boys-police-visit-for-calling-999-after-mum-collapses/
Abi Adewoye (Aunty Lulu)