When To Call 911

Here are a few things that will help you in an emergency situation and will help you determine whether or not you need to call 911.

If your child is unconscious after an accident or injury, do not move them. Moving an injured person can cause further injury to the neck or spine. Even if your child is conscious, there is a risk for internal damage or concussion, so it is best to keep her as still as possible and seek medical attention.

If the child is bleeding, put pressure on the wound with a cloth or piece of clothing to try to slow the blood flow.

Times to call 911 include:

  • Bleeding that does not stop with direct pressure over the wound
  • A cut or burn that is large, deep, or involved the head, chest, or abdomen
  • Head injury with loss of consciousness, confusion, vomiting, or poor skin color
  • Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray
  • Seizures (rhythmic jerking or loss of consciousness)
  • Sudden inability to move
  • Trouble breathing, or choking
  • Unconsciousness or lack of responsiveness from child
  • An asthma attack, allergic reaction, or seizure
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Unconsciousness due to an accident, overdose of medication or other drugs, or consumption of poison or too much alcohol
  • Serious injury resulting from an accident

What To Expect

The 911 dispatcher will ask you several questions about your child’s condition, the situation that led to the emergency and your location. It will be best for everyone if you can remain calm and speak slowly and clearly to the operator.

The operator will ask:

  • What happened. Give as much information as you can about the incident and how it happened. This will help ensure that the correct emergency personnel are sent to help.
  • Where you are. It is best if you can tell the operator your location’s street address. If the injured person is at a certain area of a property (football field, library, pool), give the operator as much detail as you can to make it easier for emergency personnel to reach you. You may need to send someone to meet them at the street and guide them to the exact location.
  • That you stay on the phone. Don’t hang up until the 911 dispatcher tells you to. The operator may give you instructions to help your child or might need more information to help emergency personnel find you quickly.

When Not to Call 911

Only call 911 for an emergency. Do not call 911 for information, minor illness or injury, for your pets, or when your power is out. Whenever a 911 operator has to deal with non-emergency calls, it could cause a life-threatening delay in getting emergency assistance to someone who really needs it.

If you are unsure whether you need to call 911 or not, it is best to call and let the emergency dispatcher determine if you need emergency help.