Recently on the radio I heard a story on the radio of a young boy of about 8 who had saved his mother’s life by calling emergency services.
I asked my four year old, ‘Do you know how to call an ambulance?’
‘Yep,’ he replied confidently. ‘You ring zero, zero, zero!’
‘That’s excellent!’ I replied. “Do you know how to do that on mummy’s phone?’
My son paused. ‘I need help mama, I can’t call all by myself’ he said.
And that’s when it hit me. Although he’d been taught that you ring 000 in an emergency, he didn’t really know how to do that. I internally panicked. This is vital information that every child should know, but with technology evolving, the method had somehow become outdated.
Back when we were kids (I sound like my nana), it was as simple as grabbing the landline and pressing the zero button three times. Now? With mobile phones, we have to teach kids how to unlock the screen, go to the phone app then dial 000.
This is when I started researching what was out there to make this process easier for younger kids that aren’t as prolific with phones.
My husband even suggested getting a landline ‘just in case’. But that shouldn’t have to happen, right?
The passcode screen
Did you know that the passcode screen on your phone has a tiny button on the left hand side that says ‘Emergency’? You tap it and are connected to emergency services. This is something to teach children.
The dial screen to call 000
Once at the dial screen, sure your child can tap 000 and the dial button but what if they can’t read? Shouldn’t there be an icon or something similar so they can see clearly where to tap?
The Triple Zero app
And as far as my research has taken me. Speaking to TripleZero.gov.au , Police NSW and Fire NSW the only resources to help parents, educators and kids about how to call 000 involves the Triple Zero Kids Challenge app. There is also some worksheets for educators on the Triple Zero website.
The app helps children understand the important info needed when calling police, fire department or an ambulance. Such as knowing their address, if not at home to describe their surroundings and also how to plan and follow escape plans in case of fires.
However these are aimed at children from 5 and older. I haven’t been able to find anything aimed at toddlers and children under 5. It’s understandable that it is a lot of pressure on a little child to know this but it’s also something lifesaving.
Fire NSW was able to provide links to brigadekids.com which has videos, games and activities about fire safety which I think is an excellent resource for parents and educators to teach children about fire safety.
Teaching your kids to call 000
I’ve made it my mission to teach my kids how to call 000. You never know what could happen and it’s important to inform and empower our kids to know how to help themselves and others. It’s still a work in progress in my house, hopefully we never have to use this skill, but I’m not taking risks.
Do you have any tips or advice on how to teach your children how to call 000? Is this something that the Aussie government should invest in? I certainly think so.