Do your kids know what to do in an emergency?
A five-year-old saved his mother's life -- read more about how he did it here. Also find out how you can teach your child about what to do in emergency situations here.
When Susan Taylor had a seizure while driving, her son, Caleb, knew immediately what to do. Caleb unbuckled himself from his seat in the back of the car, hoisted himself to the front and took hold of the steering wheel. He guided the car to the side of the road, put it in neutral and turned off the ignition. Then he waited for help. A passerby noticed that Susan had passed out and called for assistance.
“I was taking a nap, and I just woke up and saw her not driving," Caleb said in an interview with MSN.com.
Caleb is five years old.
The situation that Caleb faced was unique, perhaps even extreme, but would your son or daughter know what to do in an emergency?
Here are some tips that you can teach your children in case you are injured, become ill or are unable to call for help:
- Teach your child how to differentiate between a problem and an emergency. Problems are something that can be solved. Examples of problems include: locking yourself out of the house or forgetting something at school. Emergencies are more serious and could be life threatening such as a fire, someone stops breathing, or someone gets hurt.
- Pre-program the emergency number for the police, ambulance and fire department into your phone and teach your children how to make a call. They should be able to tell the operator their name and describe the situation. Tell your child that the operator might ask some questions so stay calm and provide clear answers. Rehearse a few times so they get the idea.
- The numbers for the police or ambulance are: Tel 999 and 112 from a mobile telephone.
- Pre-program the telephone number for the fire department. Those numbers are: Tel 994 and 112 from a mobile telephone.
- Reassure your child that after they’ve told the operator that there’s an emergency it’s important to stay on the line, even if they’re not saying anything. Assure your child in advance that help will arrive soon and everything will be okay.
- If your child is old enough, consider buying him or her a mobile phone so they can call if they need assistance but can’t find your phone.
- If you know your neighbors, teach your child how to go to their home and what to say. Practice a few times with your neighbor so your child gets a sense of what to do.
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Parents should also be prepared for emergencies:
- Know how to perform CPR on a child. The technique differs slightly between children and adults because of body size so take a class, or watch some videos online, if you’re not familiar with performing CPR on a child.
- Learn how to administer the Heimlick maneuver in case your child (or anyone else) starts choking.
- Have the phone number for the National Poison Centre programmed into your mobile. The number is 04 657 0099 and the after hours number is 012 430 9499.
- Have a first aid kit on hand
All of these tips might seem really basic and you might feel comfortable with your ability to perform the tasks. But the few minutes that it takes to practice some basic emergency techniques might save someone’s life.