Teaching Your Kids How to Respond in an Emergency

Written by on January 21, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page


emergencyAs a parent, it’s your life’s purpose to keep your children safe and out of harm’s way. You do everything you can to protect them and you pray that nothing serious will ever happen to them.

Unfortunately, sometimes emergencies occur, and there’s little you can do to prevent them. Accidents can happen, and circumstances can be beyond anyone’s control.

While you want to hope for the best, you also need to prepare for the worst. You don’t want to scare your children, but you need to teach them how to respond to emergency situations. Doing so could save their life. Here’s why, and how to do it.

Frozen Reactions

When kids – or anyone for that matter – are in an emergency, their natural instincts are going to be “flight or fright.” Too often, kids are so afraid or overwhelmed, that they simply freeze. They are unable to act. This is a common response.

For example, if an adult calls 911 from their home in the middle of an emergency, they are frequently unable to tell 911 operators their home address. Kids need to be as prepared as possible to handle emergencies. If they feel prepared, they are less likely to freeze.

Time Matters

In most emergency situations, time is of the essence. Mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death. This is why it’s imperative that your kids know what to do in different emergency situations – it can literally save their life. If a child knows how to react, they can do so immediately. If they don’t, they may waste precious time trying to figure it out or doing nothing.


The best thing you can do for your children is practice what they should do in different emergency scenarios. It’s not just enough to tell them about it; they have to actually act it out and practice taking the steps. Role-play with your child, and encourage them to act things out repeatedly.

For example, have them practice running and yelling if they are approached by a stranger who is acting inappropriately. Have them practice calling 911 and reciting their address and full name. Practice crawling down to the floor and testing doorknobs if there is a fire in the home. The more scenarios you enact, and the more often you do so, the better.


Another thing to consider is having older kids learn how to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. You can sign them up for classes that teach them how to do those life-saving techniques. You can also sign them up for classes that teach them basic First Aid techniques. This is an excellent way to prepare your children for emergency scenarios in which they actually might be able to save someone else’s life in addition to their own.

Finally, remind your children that they should always stay calm in an emergency, even if they feel like panicking. And emphasize that you will love them no matter what happens or what they do.

This is a guest post.  Susan Wright is a freelance writer that happens to be an experienced veterinarian and a mother. When focus is not on pets, Susan shares emergency advice to help prepare children in situations that may cause panic.

Image courtesy of photoraidz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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