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The Lifesaving Thing Every Fridge Needs

Refrigerator door with young child's art projects attached with fridge magnets.
Photograph by Getty Images

Nesting has always come to life in a unique way during each of my pregnancies. I never get down and scrub floors or rearrange furniture, rather, I get fixated on a project that has never once before crossed my mind.

This last project: Emergency planning.

Yes, during my third pregnancy I went to town planning for potential emergencies. Article after article told me that being prepared was the key to survival and I took that sentiment to heart. I made lists, scoured the house for supplies, built a huge Amazon order and created a thorough emergency kit for our family—three giant tubs in all.

RELATED: The Strangest Thing I Did While Nesting

Once we were prepared in the supply realm, I made my kids practice our family’s earthquake, fire, and break-in plan. My kids stared at me with wide eyes as I explained what could (but would most likely not) happen. It was all well-intentioned and although my delivery may not have been ideal, I do feel like we are better prepared—especially if my children have to act without my presence or direction.

Part of our emergency practice included making a phone call. I want my kids to be able to access my cell phone and make a call to 911 or another helper if needed.

In a moment of stress and worry I don’t expect them to remember phone numbers. And even though we talk about calling 911 when we need a police officer or fireman, my kids kept repeating 991 to me, so our “In Case of Emergency” phone directory was born.

On the lower corner of our fridge, right at my children’s eye level I typed out and taped the following on a white piece of paper:


Police, Fire, and Ambulance: 911

Daddy: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Mama: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Mimi (grandma): xxx-xxx-xxxx

Aunt ______: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Miss ______ (neighbor): xxx-xxx-xxxx

I also included our address at the bottom for the kids or babysitters to reference if needed.

Then, we practiced. We spoke to everyone except 911, explaining that we were practicing in case of an emergency.

A friend of mine has seen this small but lifesaving thing come to fruition. She fell off a ladder while putting up new curtains while at home alone with her two young children. She was unresponsive. And thanks to their previous practice sessions, her oldest was able to find her phone and call a neighbor, who rushed over and called for further help.

RELATED: How to Teach Your Kid to Handle Emergencies

What would your kids do if there was an emergency and you weren't able to guide them?

With how adept children are on our phones these days, I don’t doubt that preschool aged kids could manage dialing a phone number with some practice. All they need is for Mom and Dad to talk through potential emergencies, create a reference-like list of numbers on the fridge and establish memories they can rely on in case they need to act solo someday.

While we all hope our kids would never have to use emergency skills, it's always better to be prepared than the alternative.

Here's a handy printable template to save you one more step (just right click and save the image):

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