Saturday, December 20, 2008

Emergency Education

Max received a fire safety and emergency coloring and activity book from his pre-school. He has been working very hard on coloring all of the pages and recently he asked me for my assistance with one of the word searches. I sat next to him at the table and we searched for words like "escape" and "hazard" and "fire engine". Once we finished the search Max turned the page and the next topic was calling 9-1-1.

You hear and read stories all the time about how some 3 year old saved his grandmother because he knew how to call 9-1-1. And you are impressed that a child knew to call 9-1-1 that you forget that it must have sucked for that child to actually had to have called 9-1-1 in the first place. I figured with the activity book in front of me it would be a good time to discuss the topic with Max. I mean I could always use the coloring book as a reference guide, except I would have to solve the puzzle first in order to get guidance. Maybe they should cover this topic of calling 9-1-1 on MommyCast.

I showed Max which button to push to turn on our phone, and how to listen for the dial tone before dialing. I explained that 9-1-1 is the phone number for the police, ambulance and the fire department all at one location and he is only ever to dial 9-1-1 if there is an emergency.

"What kind of emergency?" He asked.

I looked at the activity book. "If the house was fire."

"But I am supposed to get out of the house if it is on fire and wait for you and mommy at the end of the driveway."

"Yes. You are right. If the house is on fire you just get out. Right."

Stupid activity book.

I thought for a minute and said "Just say mommy was not home, and I fell off a ladder while I was painting crown molding for the baby and I hit my head so hard that I could not wake up, that is when you should call 9-1-1."

"Only if you fall off the ladder?"

"No, but if I got hurt in any other way and I could not use the phone then you call 9-1-1."

"But you won't get hurt Dad."

"But can you imagine if I did?"

"No. You won't get hurt."

"No I won't. But just picture in your mind that I was not home and something happened to mommy and she was not okay, you could call 9-1-1."

"Mommy won't get hurt."

"But if she does..."

Max cut me off, "I don't want to call 9-1-1."

I could tell I was scaring him and I decided on a different approach. I did not want him to have nightmares about Lauren or I getting hurt. Maybe I was throwing too much at him, asking to imagine his parents being hurt and all. But I also wanted him to be okay with calling 9-1-1. Again, the coloring book was offering no help.

I pointed to our neighbors shed. "Do you see that shed out there? If that shed was on fire, you should call 9-1-1."

"That shed?" Maxfield asked and pointed in the backyard.


"How would that shed catch fire?"

"That doesn't matter..."

Max cut me off. "Oh I know. If a dragon sneezes on that shed then, then I will call 9-1-1."

I hope and pray that we have no serious accidents at our house, but if we do, I hope they are caused by dragons.


Charlotte in Pa said...

Good job, William! And don't worry - if there ever IS an emergency, he will remember this and will call 9-1-1 even though it freaks him out. He's a smart boy. And for all you know the neighbors might be keeping a dragon in that shed, so it's a good thing Max is prepared for that possibility.

mrtl said...

Dragon sneezes = precious!

As a head's up, what your child will consider an emergency may not be what you consider an emergency (and 911 certainly wouldn't). Bug once told me she wanted to call 911 because she couldn't find her pants.

Anonymous said...

He will know! However, make sure that if he can't wake you, he knows you are not waiting for the Princess to come and kiss you, he MUST call 911! There is a fine line between reality and fantasy, or "make believe". After all his Dad was Superman in high school. "A dragon sneeze" The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. momo9

Melanie said...

We've been thinking of having the 911 talk around here too and I imagine it will be a similar conversation at our house. I guess it's a fine line between explaining it and scaring them. My sister's boys used to call 911 because they wanted to see the police car and policeman in his uniform. Another thing I'm afraid of happening around here...

Anonymous said...

Oh dear! Nice try. You can never be sure, something just might be remembered if there was an emergency!

'Stranger danger' is another difficult talk, that seems simple enough before you started, but has much potential to go all pear shaped!

SciFi Dad said...

This is one of my biggest conundrums when it comes to parenting. On the one hand, I want to shield my kids from all this sort of stuff, and I really don't want them to be afraid unnecessarily. But on the other, I want them to be prepared. Sounds like I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

My niece called 911 while home with her Dad. He didn't know until the police arrived. She was still on the phone with the operator, and she TOLD them that she was just calling to test them and make sure they would come in the event of an ACTUAL emergency. But they came anyway. And had a talk with my BIL.

(btw, as I recently explained to my tween, dragons are the cause of most house fires, as well as nearly all incidents of spontaneous combustion. This is what I told her right before she told me I'm the weirdest person on earth.)

Charity Donovan said...

Oh just brought back memories. I had this talk w/ Aidan when i was pregnant with the quads. Not gotta love LOVE that his little mind just KNOWS that you & mommy won't get hurt...but the possibility of a dragon with allergies is pretty believable...I love that!

Unknown said...

Great story - I knew it would be funny....but I sure didn't expect it to go the direction of dragons!
Thanks for sharing your funny conversations with us in the blogworld. I'm so glad I found your blog.
My son is disabled and non-verbal.
I'm glad to live vicariously through your conversations with your boys....

Lois Lane said...

Never underestimate the power of a dragon sneeze!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, your children are adorable! A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

On the other end of it, my 9yo and his Cub Scout troop recently visited the county emergency management office where they field those 911 calls. The boys were impressed with how the deputies can look up your address. An emergency call came in while we were there (homeowner with suspicious people/vehicles on her property) and we could hear them assuring the homeowner that help was on the way, talking with her until the sheriff's car pulled up. And then they got to sit in the nice deputy's car. Photos on my blog tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha. I teach my kids that too, to call 911...the complicated part is that I have to teach them to hit the "talk" button on the phone and "send" since we no longer have the old fashioned phones we used to have, where you just pick up and hear a dial tone and dial and it goes through.

Sassy said...

It is THAT HARD to explain to a child about safety. Why can't some genius psychologist come up with an approach for us to teach our kids, hmmm, I guess it is because our approach keeps them in business, huh?

Dragons, that is BRILLIANT!!!