Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More on 9-1-1. (Oh, and Poison Control too....)

Judging from some of your comments on the post about the kids dialing 9-1-1, I think I need to explain how it happened.

My phone (a BlackBerry Pearl) is often locked--to avoid the dreaded "butt dialing" and "toddler calling Tokyo" scenarios! If the track ball is pushed when the keyboard is locked, a message shows up:

Device is locked
Emergency Call

Any of those three options can be selected. If "Emergency Call" is selected, another message appears:

Are you sure you
want to make an
emergency call?

So I think the kids (one or the other or both) messed around with the phone and managed to select "Emergency Call" and then "Yes." Apparently this automatically dials 9-1-1.

They don't even know what 9-1-1 is, and I didn't make a big deal of the mishap, since I knew it was completely unintentional (as opposed to an older child calling 9-1-1 for the thrill of it, which would be dealt with very seriously in our house!)

But this has got me to thinking...is it time to teach Chickie to use the phone, and to teach her about dialing 9-1-1? She knows her numbers, and if something ever happened to Mommy, I'd sure want her to be able to call for help. I'd love to hear your opinions on the right age to teach a child to make an emergency call.

And speaking of emergency calls, we had our fourth kid-related call to Poison Control yesterday. (It was the first time I was calling on Zoodle's behalf--another unfortunate milestone!)

While I was in the bathroom getting ready, Zoodle took the opportunity to get into the kids' chewable vitamins. The bottle has a child-proof lid, but Mommy probably didn't screw it tight enough. I don't know how many he ate; I just know that it is possible to "overdose" on certain vitamins, so I figured a call to the Poison Control hotline (1-800-222-1222) was warranted.

I was just instructed to feed him and give him a drink, and I was told he might get an upset stomach and diarrhea. As I'm writing this, it's been a few hours, and he seems okay...knock on wood!

As weird as this may sound, I've always had fantastic experiences with Poison Control. Chickie, being the most orally-fixated kid ever born, managed to eat a few non-ingestible substances when she was younger (despite my sincere efforts to keep harmful stuff out of reach!) Poison Control operators have always been calm, polite, and helpful; and they always call back a little later to make sure everything is okay.

None of us is perfectly aware of our kids' actions at every moment, so I'm very glad we've got Poison Control and 9-1-1 available when we need them!


Kara said...

My husband and I were just talking about this the other week - whether Abby is old enough to understand both 1., how to dial 9-1-1, and 2., if she is old enough to have the judgment to know to dial it properly. I think we're going to wait a little while more, as I just don't trust that she would understand the gravity of learning something that should really not be practiced.

Unknown said...

There are so many wonderful services available to us these days! It is nice to take a moment and be thankful they are there for us and our children. Glad Zoodle is ok!

Sandra said...

Beth -- I'm wayyyy past having an informed opinion about this, but as I read Kara's comment what she said made so much sense! You are not only a smart mom, but you get comments from smart mom's too!

btw, when Gunny was very little he ate half a bottle of baby aspirin. The Dr's office told me several ways to try to make him throw up -- none of them worked. But he never showed any side effects. I guess he was already a tough little Marine even then. :)

Ahh, "mommy-hood". You love the little buggers, but life sure is less exciting at THIS point in my life! :)

Becky said...

I'm glad Zoodle is okay! Kids get into things so quickly. We are so fortunate to live in a modern-day world with 9-1-1 and poison control a phone call away.

I can't remember how it came up, but I did have the 9-1-1 talk with my 4-year-old a few months ago. He likes to put the numbers in on the microwave keypad, so I knew he understood numbers and their sequence enough to understand how to make a phone call. I made sure to emphasize very heavily that he should only call 9-1-1 if mom or dad are hurt very, very badly and can't talk. Otherwise it is mom and dad's job to call. He seemed to understand, and so far there haven't been any 9-1-1 calls because he decides needing some more milk in his cup is an emergency. *knock on wood* I think he may have had the talk at daycare even before that because it seemed like he already knew what I was telling him, if I remember correctly.

We haven't had to use 9-1-1 yet, and hopefully never will but we did use poison control once when my then-baby found a mushroom in the yard when my back was turned, and I couldn't tell if she'd eaten any of it. They were so awesome. The guy I talked to was so helpful and had me email him a picture of the mushroom, then called me back within minutes to assure me that it didn't look like a poisonous variety. He also called back the next day to make sure she was still okay. I was very impressed with their services.

beckiwithani said...

I think Becky's way of talking to kids about it sounds great. The only thing I'd add is if Mom or Dad are hurt very badly and can't talk *or* can't reach or dial the phone...

Definitely teach her to do it on the house phone if possible, but tell her to make sure to always give her address (because if she calls on the cell phone, they will need it!)

Traci said...

I would say that if you think they are old enough to remember the sequence of numbers (and know their numbers) that you should teach them. I'm always amazed at the stories of 3 year olds calling 911 for someone. We have taught our girls how to dial it too. But we might just need a refresher. So glad he is ok.

The poison control center called you back? I haven't ever had that experience. Maybe they call back to check on more serious substances. They have always been very calm and reassuring.

Call Me Cate said...

I have no qualifications about when it's right to teach a child 911 but I am glad that all situations cited in this post have ended with safe, healthy children.

Janet said...

I have had great experiences with poison control, as well. My #3 always seemed to be one mouthful away from death. They always called me back to check on him, too, and didn't make me feel like the department of children's services would be knocking on my door for calling poison control one too many times. Bless them.

P.S. thanks for lighting a fire under me to post something on my blog!

Mike said...

I'm so glad I'm not so busy anymore so I can finally start reading your blog again :) It's always so much fun!

I have thankfully never had any experiences with 911 or the Poison Control Centre ever...and neither has anyone in my family! Hopefully it stays that way :)

LEstes65 said...

I like the advice you're getting here. I've instructed both my boys to call 911 if they ever can't get me to answer them (like, "mommy won't wake up" or I'm unconscious). They also know that, in a fire, get out of the house, get to a neighbor and call 911 from there. A friend told me to have actual fire drills. Because kids will do what they've rehearsed. Mine need to know how to navigate through an unlit house to a door. They both have little flashlights on the tray on their loft-beds. But I haven't run the drills. And really should.

Kama said...

Bryce is 6 and is just learning how to call 911. They started it at school and I have carried it over at home, as to when he should call. He understands it is really only for emergencies (like mommy is unconscious, the house is on fire, etc.) but I still worry that he will up and call them over something not emergency related.

I already told you about MY 911 incident and the phone lock is actually how he called, rather than dialing the numbers. Trav did some research and, rather than locking my Blackberry the old fashioned way, if you press the mute button on the top of the phone, it also locks it, but doesn't bring the emergency call screen up. To unlock it, you press the mute button again.

Eternal Lizdom said...

Teagan knows 911. We've talked about it at home but she has really learned about it at school. They've had police and fire come in and they do regular fire drills and everything. And they talk about calling 911 and when you call and when you don't. Our pastor has even talked about it during a children's sermon!

The school is great about incorporating that stuff into other things. So when they are having fun dancing during gross motor skills, the teacher plays this current song that talks about fire burning, call 911 in the chorus. It's some song about hot girls in a club or something stupid... Teagan has no idea what the song is about but when it comes on the radio (which we rarely listen to anyway), she gets all excited and starts singing the call 911, there's a fire! part.

Renee said...

Beth, there's a great book for learning about 911: It's time to call 911; What to do in an emergency. My daughter learned about 911 at the age of 3 with the help of this book. I had an irrational thought that I might fall down the stairs someday and need her to know what to do (I grew up in the south with ranch houses and now live in three story townhouses in the east). With extra reinforcement, the book is a great tool!