My child called 999 by mistake: what should I do?
You left your toddler alone with your phone for a split second and now they're looking guilty... oops! Did they call the emergency services by any chance? It's happened to lots of us, believe it or not. Here's what to do, and what happens after...
One of the mums on our team vividly recalls the day she found her 2-year-old daughter standing by the landline phone, off the hook, assuming she'd pressed some random numbers.
"I put the phone back on the hook and a minute later it rang. I answered, and a female voice said: 'You called emergency services, which service do you require?' I explained I hadn't... and that it was, errr... probably my child.
"999 is, after all, a number lots of children get to know from playing police/ambulance/fire engine type games and we'd taught it to her as a useful one to ring in an emergency. Plus it's super-easy easy to dial ?
"I got a polite but stern telling off, and was asked to make sure my child wasn't left alone in a room with a phone - or that the phone was locked so no unnecessary calls could be made.
"I felt so guilty - it's never happened since!"
So what should you do if your child has called the emergency services by accident?
Advice on Lancashire Constabulary's website - which we're guessing will be pretty similar cross the board - is that if your child has called 999 and you're still on the line to them, stay on and speak to the operator, and explain there and then what's happened.
If the line's gone dead and you're no longer connected, it will be recorded as a 'silent call' and you'll get a call back.
That'll be your chance to explain it was a mistake call and will mean you don't get an unexpected police visit.
Will the police come round if your child calls 999 by mistake?
Yep, fact is, it might not just be a call you get if your toddler phones 999 by mistake and you don't let them know it was an accident. Mum Claire B reveals:
"My daughter was about 2 and a half. She'd been playing with the phone, I put it back she went and played in the garden and I thought nothing of it. Until the 2 police knocked at the door.
"I wondered what had happened and then twigged. I was so embarrassed and apologetic. It's very reassuring that they check though!"
And then there's this story from Louise H:
"I was getting my children ready for school one morning when 2 policemen suddenly appeared in the living room.
"I insisted we'd not called 999 then spotted the phone hanging off the hook. It's very good that they check but I felt very guilty." ?
And Sharon B told us when her child did it, they were left with "3 police cars and a very angry mum lol".
So, there you have it. Whether by design or accident, toddlers are pretty handy at dialling 999... so, if you've realised they've done it, try and stay on the line and let the operator know, otherwise, answer the call-back you'll get.
Although, the best option of course is to not let them get to your phone in the first place - but if it happens, don't feel too guilty - we've all been there or somewhere similar.
Images: Getty Images
Tara is mum to 1 daughter, Bodhi Rae, and has worked as Content Editor and Social Media Producer at MadeForMums since 2015
Simple ways to help your child learn to be clever with money
Make learning about money simple and fun for your kids with these easy tips.