Teaching them who to contact in an emergency could be the difference between life and death.
Heart attacks, strokes, convulsions and collapses… they’re not exactly fun, frivolous topics to tackle, especially if you’re talking to young children. But it’s important that your kids know how to cope in a disaster because you may not be available to hold their hand.
In fact, it’s so important that the federal government has created the Triple Zero Kids’ Challenge, an online game that aims to educate children about how to cope in an emergency and the appropriate use of Triple Zero (000), Australia's emergency call service.
The game is designed for children of kindergarten and primary school age (to be played with adult guidance and supervision) and covers nine different safety scenarios. It can be played in shorter intervals or the full game-play lasts around an hour, with completion certificates generated at the end.
Playing the Triple Zero Kids Challenge will help you teach your kids the importance of dialling 000 in an emergency, such as if someone around them collapses, seizes or appears to stop breathing.
In many emergency circumstances, the best people to call will be Triple Zero, but it’s important that your children understand what an emergency actually is. Use simple, age-appropriate terms to explain different scenarios to your kids: If mummy falls down and can't get up, or mummy is sleeping and won't wake up, then you should call Triple Zero for help.
As well as getting your kids up to speed about using Triple Zero, there are other safety scenarios and action plans you can teach your children so they can learn to cope in an emergency.
If an emergency strikes, your children need to know who to call. Do you have a list of emergency contacts available in a prominent place, such as stuck on the fridge, and if your kids are old enough, plugged into their mobile phone? In the event of a medical emergency, they should be taught to phone 000, but if their emergency is less critical (they fell off their bike on the way to school and can’t reach you), this list of people should be their next port of call. Aim to have at least five or six phone numbers including grandparents, neighbours and close friends that can be contacted if things turn pear-shaped.
When disaster strikes, a natural reaction is to panic, which can create confusion and cause you to lose precious moments where you could be moving to safety. That’s why it’s a good idea to have an emergency plan that the whole family understands. Some families designate different tasks to each person in the event of an emergency: Jimmy gets the torch, Janie gets the candles, mummy grabs the mobile phones and daddy makes sure everyone is up and out. For others, it’s about creating a meeting point: If there’s a suspected fire, for instance, then everyone is to get outside as fast as possible and meet next to the mailbox. Have a discussion with your family about a range of different scenarios to make sure you’re all on the same page and you know how to react in an emergency.
Do you have a first aid kit or is it more of a collection of band aids, itch creams and headache tablets stuffed in a drawer? If your answer is the latter, then it might pay to create a box of supplies to help you deal with more serious emergencies. Stock it with items such as gauze, medical tape, antibiotic ointment and calamine lotion, and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is stashed.
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