Teach Your Children Well…Some May Be Heroes One Day

wrecked motorcycle

Every parent hopes they impart knowledge that stays with their children for a lifetime. Vicki is sure she has.

Vicki Gassman, a Safe Sitter® Instructor and Site Coordinator at a YMCA in Iowa, taught her daughter, Christina, the skills she needed to stay calm during an emergency.

Christina says, “I really liked watching my mom teach my Safe Sitter® class. She’s a really good teacher!”

What Christina’s mother taught her daughter in a Safe Sitter® class in 2011 resulted in the now 12-year-old successfully making a 9-1-1 call that certainly saved an injured man’s life. Additionally, she also managed to keep her three younger siblings calm and preoccupied during the intense event.

One day this past August, Christina’s father was driving Christina and her three siblings, 4, 8 and 10, through town near a busy intersection. A truck directly in front of their car chose to turn into traffic and side-swiped a man on a motorcycle. After they all witnessed the motorcyclist getting hit by the truck, Christina’s father got out and tended to the injured man. Meanwhile, Christina dialed 9-1-1 using her own cell phone.

Christina’s father said, “The motorcycle was T-boned by the truck. The man was thrown over the cab of the truck. The accident scene was bad. The man was flown to Iowa City to the hospital. ”

As a big sister and Safe Sitter® grad, Christina really stepped up to the plate. She remained in the car with her siblings and kept them calm as she dialed for help. In fact, she was able to keep everyone calm for more than an hour while her father spoke with the firefighters and police about the incident.

Christina said, despite being nervous, she knew immediately to call 9-1-1. “I took a deep breath. Since I didn’t know the exact address, I gave the person at 9-1-1 the landmarks around me.”

“Safe Sitter® helped me a lot-helped me know what to do and what to say,” she added.

Vicki is understandably proud her daughter remembered so well what she taught her. “Christina kept calm and was able to give the 9-1-1 representative an account and location of where they were. I never realized how important the Safe Sitter® help cards were, especially when we teach the kids how to call 9-1-1 in our role plays,” Vicki said.

Christina’s father, who was witness to his daughter’s impressive cool-headedness, said, “When I got back to the car, Christina had really done a good job with the kids keeping them both calm and entertained.”

And how did she keep them calm? She devised a creative game to distract them!

“We played ‘Pretend’.  We pretended we were the firefighters and police and what we were going to do next.”