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Prince William’s important reminder: It’s never too early to teach kids emergency prep

Even the littlest fingers can dial a call that saves a life. That’s the message Prince William took home after celebrating a special little girl at the Pride of Britain Awards this week. Five-year-old Suzie McCash was honored with the Child of Courage Award for calling 999 (Britain's version of 911) last year, saving her mother’s life.

Bending down on one knee to talk to Suzie (who was just four when her mom suffered a severe allergic reaction and went into respiratory arrest), Prince William told the little girl she’d taught him an important lesson he plans to teach to little Prince George.

“I have a 4-year-old called George and if I gave him a telephone, I do not know what he would do,” Prince William told Suzie, according to The Telegraph. “Do you know what, I'm going to have a conversation with my George about what to do because of what you've done—it's really important,” he told her.

When Suzie’s mom, Dr. Rowena McCash, collapsed at home last year, Suzie knew just what to do. She dialed 999 and very calmly explained to the operator that "Mummy's got her eyes closed" and could not talk, the BBC reports.

When the paramedics arrived, they found Suzie waiting, and she led them to her mom and explained exactly what had happened. According to emergency staff, if Suzie hadn’t known how to make that 999 call, her mom would have died.

If Prince William wants to teach his son how to be brave like Suzie, he should start by explaining what 911 (or 999, in the Prince’s case) is for, and then explain some scenarios in which it would be used.

According to 9-1-1 For Kids, a non-profit organization focused on 911 emergency dialing education, even very young children can be taught how and when to call for emergency assistance.

Parents should use concrete examples when explaining 911 to the youngest children, because emergency situations may not be as obvious to them as they are to an adult. For kids George’s age, parents can explain that if someone is on the ground, not moving, they should find an adult immediately, and if no adults are around they should call 911. Role-playing through a couple scenarios can make things less scary when they do happen.

Older kids can get even more prepared by taking a first aid or CPR course through local hospitals or Red Cross chapters.

Prince William’s comments are reminding parents everywhere how important emergency preparedness and 911 are. Hopefully Prince George will never find himself in a situation like Suzie’s, but if he does (and there’s no butler around) he’ll now know how to call for help. Maybe he’ll even save Prince William some day.

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