Teaching Kids When To Dial 911

A tragic story out of Lincoln has many parents taking a second look at what we teach our kids to do in an emergency.

Last Friday, Lincoln Police were called to a house where a 10-year-old boy had been caring for his injured father who had fallen and hit his head more than a week earlier.

The principal at the boy's school called police after the boy didn't show up at school for four days.

The boy never called 911. His father died at the hospital on Sunday.

So would your child know what to do in a real emergency?

Counselor Heather Rowland makes sure every child at Crestridge Magnet School in Omaha knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Five-year-old Mateo Cogua is in Kindergarten at Crestridge. “If you need an emergency you just pick up the phone and call 911. They can send the police, the firefighters or the ambulance to rescue you.” he says.

But in the heat of the moment, even with the proper training, it can be tough for kids to think clearly and do the right thing.

“My mind would kind of be like, ah. Like crazy,” says nine-year-old fourth grader, Jackson Riha.

Jeff Jones is the deputy chief with the Papillion Fire Department. He says it's important to start teaching kids about handling emergencies at a young age.

“The younger you start with them the more effective they can be in knowing when it's right to call 911,” Jones said.

He says every year their fire department spends time in schools teaching kids when they should be calling 911.

“The big thing that we try to impress on then is if they feel like they are in danger, or they know something isn't right and they need a policeman or a fireman, or they need help, it's okay to call 911,” said Jones.

Jones also says they make sure kids understand that 911 is only for emergencies. But he says they would much rather have a kid be on the safe side and call 911 than risk them not calling at all.

“You don't need to call 911 for fun,” says 7-year-old Maliyah Hewertz, a second grader at Crestridge. “Only if it's an emergency you would probably need to call 911.”


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