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Would YOUR Kid Know What to Do?

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Heroic kids make news all the time—but how do you know if your own child would respond in an emergency?


When we heard that a 5-year-old boy saved his grandmother from choking, it freaked us out that we need to teach our kids some safety tips, too. But how do we educate them without scaring them?

Greg Stockton, Health and Safety Manager at the American Red Cross has tips for us all:

  • Tackling the topic:
  • Asking questions is the easiest way to talk to kids about emergency situations. "Have you ever had something in your throat that made you start coughing?" is a good conversation starter. From there, ask them to try to remember what it felt like. Explain how sometimes an object can get stuck in a person's throat, stopping them from breathing--allow that to be your transition to teaching them how they can help a person in that situation, said Stockton.

  • Calling 9-1-1: "A child can begin to learn about calling 9-1-1 as soon as he or she is able to communicate understandably and is able to recognize numbers to dial on the phone," Stockton said. American Red Cross programs typically start teaching children to dial once they've reached kindergarten. Mom•Logic office Moms recommend teaching kids their address and telephone number in case of an emergency.
  • If a grownup is choking: Red Cross programs introduce children as young as 5 to techniques that help a choking person. Instead of the traditional Heimlich, the official Red Cross method is a series of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts.
  • If a grownup is not breathing: Doing CPR requires a child to be more fully developed than assisting a conscious choking person. A child can perform effective CPR as early as age 11.

To find a first aid course in your area, visit the American Red Cross.

next: Teen: 'Moms, Give Us Guidance!'
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