If your kids can swipe on your smartphone, can they call 911?

Posted at 10:03 AM, May 29, 2019

It’s a call you hope your child never has to make, but one day they may have to. Can your child make a 911 call on a smartphone?

WTMJ television station in Wisconsin asked parents in the Milwaukee area that very question.

“She can go on Netflix and YouTube. Not to call 911, but she knows other things, so that would be something that I could look into doing,” said Mareza Landeros, who has a 2-year-old daughter.

“I think kids should know that. I’m not sure if his age would be right because he might just call it just because,” said another mother of a toddler, Jaimie Hull.

Kinnyetta Patterson with Milwaukee County’s Office of Emergency Management shows us how simple it is to make an emergency call on a smartphone. You don’t have to know a phone’s passcode.

Demonstrating with an iPhone first, Patterson pressed the home button twice. At the bottom left of the screen, the word, “Emergency” pops up. Hit that, she said, and hit it once again to make a call to 911. She showed us with an Android, and for that you need to swipe the screen.

Once patched through to the call center, Patterson explained technology only helps pinpoint a broad area. Dispatchers need your address, something parents need to teach their kids.

“If you ever have to call 911, it's okay, talk to them, give them your address, give them your name,” said Patterson.

Do you think there's a good age where you should be teaching children how to call 911?” Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne asked Patterson.

“I think it all depends on the child. We started with my daughter at two. Some people think two is too young but a 2-year-old can make a phone call,” Patterson said.