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Public Safety

Kids and 911





Surprisingly, young children are very capable of providing information in a real emergency. There are numerous documented cases of young children calling 911 and providing life saving information to a 911 operator.  Parents are encouraged to teach their children how to call 911, but must also teach them when to call 911.


9-1-1 or 9-11?


Parents should never refer to 911 as nine-eleven.  In an emergency, a young child might try to find the number 11 on a phone dial.  Obviously, this would prevent the child from making the call.  ALWAYS use the term "nine-one-one"!!!




911 often receives calls from young children.  Sometimes the child is reporting a real emergency.  More often, the child was playing with the telephone and either inadvertantly dialed 911 or was "practicing".  When a 911 operater receives a call from a young child, the operator will attempt to have the child get an adult on the phone.  If contact with an adult cannot be established, the 911 operator will try to find out from the child why he or she called 911.  Unless a child is able to give details of a particular emergency, a police officer will be dispatched to check the residence.  The 911 operator will not disconnect the call until contact is made with an adult or a first responder is at the location.




Once a call is placed to 911, the telephone line making the call CANNOT BE DISCONNECTED from 911 until the 911 operator verifies that everything is OK.  This is a safety feature for your benefit.  No matter how many times you hang up your handset and pick it back up, 911 will still be on the other end.


If your child does dial 911 by mistake, teach them that they should stay on the line and talk to the dispatcher.  Explain to the child that dispatcher won't yell or try to get them in trouble, but 911 will need to speak with a responsible adult to verify that everybody is safe and secure.


Click here for a brochure that you can print and give to children about 911.  You will need Adobe Reader to view and print the brochure.