Important Things Your Child Needs to Know In Case of an Emergency

Whether it's a robbery attack, fire outbreak, food poisoning, fainting or getting lost, your child should be able to know what to do, who to call, or where to run to. This article highlights emergency drills for kids.

In a robbery incident at Orlando Florida, an 11-year-old child dialed 911, hid in her closet, and remained calm even as the robbers tried to break into her room. Such bravery could only occur because she was prepared. What would your child have done in a similar situation?

Whether there’s a robbery, fire, a sudden health emergency such as food poisoning, or even getting lost, your child should know who to call, where to run and what to do in an emergency situation. As an adult, this may be common knowledge as your cognitive function has been developed, and life experiences will automatically ignite your emergency response instincts. For children it is different – they need to be taught and practise regularly until they become pros at emergency response.

This article will help you guide your child through different emergency cases and how to stay safe.


Most children under the age of 5 do not know the names of their parents, house address or phone number by heart. These are some of the first things you should teach your kids – this way they do not only learn about emergency calls but also their identity in case they get lost. Make your child recite your phone number and that of their next of kin in case you are unavailable. Also drive them past your house occasionally and see if they will recognize their home or apartment building.


Robbery Emergency

Educate your child on the following things in case of a robbery attack.

  • Hide under/behind a bed/chair or any raised platform
  • Lie down flat on the floor (to avoid being hit by a stray bullet)
  • Call the police, send a text to mom/dad/ family member/ neighbour
  • Remain quiet and stay still in the hideout until the robbers are gone.

Fire Outbreak

Take your kids through a fire drill and rehearse with them to the point where they can carry out the drill even if woken up from sleep.

Your child should be able to do the following:

  • Distinguish between the fire alarm and a whistling kettle.
  • Cover up with a cloth or blanket when trying to escape through the nearest door or window.
  • Run to a safe point a few meters away from the fire scene (which you must have told them about earlier)
  • Call for help – Fire service, ambulance, mom/dad/ family member/ neighbour.
  • Refrain from going back into the house to rescue any person or toys.

Food Poisoning

When it comes to food poisoning, children are more prone to vomiting and stooling than adults, therefore inform your child to…

  • Stop eating immediately they feel unwell and avoid food for the next few hours
  • Drink water, or an electrolyte solution (sugar + salt + warm water) You should have an already made solution in the fridge/shelf.
  • Stay away from dairy, spicy and fatty foods.
  • Get some rest.


Carrying out Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the first step in helping an unconscious person regain consciousness. Watch the video below with your child, and teach them how to do CPR. Note that babies, children and adults require different CPR techniques, however, the basic routines are similar.

Difficulty in Breathing

It takes about five to ten minutes of not breathing for a human to develop irreversible brain damage, which eventually may lead to death, especially in younger children. Hence, teach your child how to do the following when they experience difficulty breathing.

  • Adopt pursed-lip breathing
  • Sit forward or lie down in a relaxed position
  • Breathe from the diaphragm
  • Stay under a fan to get more air

Cash Emergency

Imagine your kids are home alone and there is an emergency that requires cash, what will they do? It is advisable to keep some money (no matter how small) at home, and inform your child (preferably, the oldest) where he or she can find the money, in case of an emergency. Do well to emphasize that the money is for emergencies ONLY and explain different emergency scenarios to the child for better understanding.

For your older kids who have mobile phones, you can also teach them how to use GTRescue. You never know when that knowledge will come in handy.

You’ll also need to write out some emergency numbers and paste them on the wall for your child to memorize.

  • Your Personal phone number
  • Your Parents’ and neighbours phone numbers
  • State Security Service (SSS) – 08132222105
  • Police, Fire Service, Ambulance, Domestic Violence (Lagos Emergency Services) – 767 or 112
  • Federal Road Safety Corps – 122 or 07002255372
  • GTConnect Customer Care – 0700482666328, 08029002900, 08039003900
  • Airtime top-up – Dial *737*Amount#

To download the emergency numbers of Police Command PROs in different states across Nigeria, click HERE.