We teach our children that 911 will always be there if we ever need help, and that's great that children learn that.
Unfortunately, when it came down to my 5 year old Son, I should have specified what KIND of help they must need before dialing 911.
Here's a funny, yet serious story. You'll get a little laugh out of this one!
I recently had another baby boy (Feb 27, 2008) and have been sleeping on the sofa in the living room to keep my husband from being disturbed at night.
At 3:30 AM, I awoke to a County Police Officer standing inside my house!
My eyes finally focused and I was awake enough to realize, I really was seeing a cop in my house and I wasn't dreaming!
Still half dazed-half awake, I immediately asked the Police Officer "Is everything ok?"
He responded very politely,"We've had five 911 calls from this house."
It was about that time, my 5 year old exited from his bedroom and was making his way down the hall towards us.
Of course I instantly knew who the culprit was.
The Police Officer began to question my Son as to why he had called 911.
"I needed some help," explained my Son, "and my Mommy says that anytime I needed help to call 911 and someone would always come help me!"
The Officer then proceeded to inquire on what my little 5 year old had called 911 to get help with.
Here's the twist:
When he turned 5 on March 17th, we bought him a Playstation 2, and ever since it's hard to pry him away from it. We made a rule that at his bedtime, that game must go off until the next day. Since my husband and I had already figured out that if we just turned it off he'd be up all night playing it, we started taking on the the vital cords to make it functional and hiding it at night time.
He explained very confidently to the Police Officer, "Well, I need help finding my cord so I can hook up my game!" (Keep in mind that it is after 3 in the morning)
After appologizing to the officer for the waste of his and the 911 dispatchers' time, he had a good sense of humor about the whole ordeal. He looked at me and asked, "Well, now that I'm here, do you want me to hook his Playstation up?" LOL!
I know children aren't always innocent, and of course my child should NOT have been awake at that hour, but I really have to blame myself for this one. I've always told him when he needed help to call 911. I suppose I should have stressed the fact only when he needs EMERGENCY help to dial the number.
But if you can at all imagine how it felt to be awaken by a Cop standing in the room with me, OH MY GOSH!
It wasn't a funny situation at first because we had to explain to my Son that 911 helps people but only if they are hurt or there's a fire or something like that and that because he was wasting this officer's time, someone else who may have needed real help may have had to wait.
5 Important Lessons Learned:
#5*Take away the ENTIRE game console before heading to bed... not just the cord
#4*Place the phone in MY bedroom to prevent little hands from getting to it so easily.
#3*Dress appropriately before going to sleep (you just never know WHAT you may wake up to!) I was only wearing a shirt and my undies when the Cop walked in.
#2*Make sure that your doors are always locked securely (I'm glad it was a Cop who just walked right in, and not a robber or worse)
AND THE #1 LESSON LEARNED* ALWAYS Explain to children the importance and actual reasons we can dial 911 and the severity of the consequences that could result from calling when we don't need real help.
I just figured I would share this story with you, if for nothing else to let whoever reads this get a good laugh for the day.
When our niece was six, she called 911 because she wanted to talk to my husband, a volunteer fireman. Nevermind that he was at his full-time job at the time. Or that she lives and dialed 911 in another state! But it was super-cute that she wanted to chat with him, since we didn't have kids at the time and her parents were going through a divorce.
Also, I remember one of my grade school teachers always told us he kept a complete set of clothes with shoes under his bed in case he ever had a fire and wouldn't want to go out with his PJs on!
When babysitting my little sister I recieved a call from 911 asking if everything in the house was okay. I was completely confused by this and replied of course everything was okay and when did you guys start making routine phone calls. I was told someone in the house called them. after interrogating my two younger sisters I found the youngest, 4 at the time, called from the upstairs phone (at the time I was in the kitchen making dinner) "just to see what happens". She learned of 911 through barney. the dispatcher asked to speak with her and apparently said something along the line of people get arrested for prank calling 911, where upon my sister broke into hysterics thinking she was going to jail.