When to Call 999 according to a 3 year old

When to Call 999 according to a 3 year old

A 3 year olds view on when to call 999

There’s been a video for sometime now circulating the internet of a call to emergency services.  You’ve likely already heard it.  A 3 year old manages to call 999 and ask for help as her Mummy has fallen down the stairs with a baby (it turns out that her mum was pregnant).  You can listen to the 999 call here

What would my child do in an emergency?

Listening to this got me thinking.  What would Brooke do in an emergency?  Does she even know what 999 is or how to even access it on my phone?

The answer to all of those questions is no.  So after a brief chat yesterday she know understands that in an emergency when there are no adults to help her she should ring 999.  She also knows how to dial 999 on both my phone (when its locked and unlocked) as well as the home phone.

Why my child thinks we may need to call emergency services

The idea of what is an emergency seems to be taking a little bit harder to stick.  Brooke understands that the emergency services consists of ambulance, fire and police services.  Here are some her reasons that she (currently) thinks she might need the emergency services

When to call 999, 3 year old learning how to ring 999


Sometimes when I really do like manage to fall down stairs.  you would get some blood out of yourself.  but last week i feel down stairs and I didn’t get any blood so I called for my Mum.  If there was lots of blood it would be an emergency

I thought this was quite a good start to understanding why Brooke might need assistance.  Brooke understands that the emergency services are only needed when someone is seriously injured.  We’re now working on building that understanding to only ringing 999 when something is life threatening.  That’s quite a big topic to cover so it may take some time to learn


If Harper hits me on the head a pokes me in the eyes that is bad and the police need to tell her off

I had to try hard not laugh in Brooke’s face when she said this.  So we’re now working on the understanding that being hit and poked in the eye by an adult on purpose would be appropriate to call the police.  Of course she knows she would ideally tell an adult she knows first.

If a monster comes and snatches you and puts you in jail and smashes things then you can ring the police and they will help.  The monster will get put in jail instead

This is a pretty reasonable reason to call the police if you ask me.


If there is a big big massive FIRE! then it’s emergency and the fire people will put it out with water

Also another genuinely good reason to call the emergency services.  Brooke understands that we only need the fire service for bigger fires.  I half expected Brooke to think we might need them to put out candles!

How about your children, do they know how to call the emergency services?  Do they have any ideas why they may need to ring them? Comment below!



  1. July 7, 2017 / 9:02 pm

    I was actually thinking about this recently as I haven’t taught my 5 year old about 999 yet and I wonder if it’s time. She can be a little monkey sometimes and I’m a bit worried she’ll just start dialing it if I tell her!

    • July 7, 2017 / 9:22 pm

      That’s always the worry isn’t it. We’re drumming in the idea that she should only ring them if there isn’t an adult nearby that she trusts to do it for her!

  2. Gabriela
    July 10, 2017 / 5:15 pm

    She looks to be half way there. Not bad at all! My guess is that Edgardo thinks the ambulance is people who go to our house to have a nice chat, while mummy is wearing pijamas!

    • July 10, 2017 / 5:28 pm

      Awww I love this, I hope you don’t have to call them out for him to often!

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