What’s the 411 in Deutschland?

Interview with Uwe Kubier Paramedic

Uwe, as a knowledgeable service person for the German ambulatory service we’re seeking your professional insight on keeping our children and families safe.
A few incidents have happened in the expat community that have concerned me and left me with a fear that I’m not adequately equipped to handle an emergency situation.
Recently there was a mother whose child was accidentally stuck in the lift of her building. Unfortunately, this child was a small child and couldn’t express himself clearly.
What should a parent do in this case? Call the emergency number on the elevator or the firehouse?

Uwe: I would call the number on the lift once. If nobody answers, call 112.

Another incident I have recently heard about is a mother whose child opened the door during the night and wandered out of the apartment. After getting lost, the child, who was of kindergarten age, wasn’t able to tell anyone where he lived or his last name and address.

What information is vital for young children to know and what precautions can parents take to safely assure their children stay in the house?

Uwe: Kids in kindergarten age should know their address or parents telephone number. For that special kid, it might be useful to write the name or telephone number in the pyjamas. Kids should learn their address as early as possible and when their capacity to learn grows, also parents telephone numbers. I don’t like the idea of locking doors, when kids are alone at home or at night. In an emergency (fire) it adds time to a scenario if the doors are locked, because they would have to be opened with force..

The next issue is falls and head injuries. Children are always testing their agility and taking risks. How does a parent know the difference between a serious head injury that calls for an emergency room visit and minor head injuries? What are the signs?

Uwe: When a child falls on his head observe the child. When he lethargic or sleepy, there might be a damage. Or when he should be awake and is sleepy, it’s better to contact the emergency services.

You can also check the pupils. Cover one eye with your hand for about 15 seconds, then take your hand away. The pupil should get smaller.

Then do the same with the other eye. If one eye is slower than the other, or doesn’t get smaller at all, call for an ambulance.
Also call an ambulance,if the child starts vomiting after the damage or if blood surfaces.

As expats language is often a barrier. Even if a foreigner has attempted to assimilate and learn the language fluently, parents often find that the struggle with their host country language in an emergency situation.

What information should parents have available for emergency room visits, emergency phone calls and other incidents?

Uwe: Language shouldn’t be a big problem, when the parents are able to speak English. Most nurses and doctors speak decent English. When parents take smaller children to the doctor or an emergency hospital visit, they should bring their child’s Yellow Book with all the “U” check ups. Also the Impfpass (Vaccination Records). Parents should also know if a child has allergies, is on any medicine, which medication and the dosages along with the packaging if available.


Uwe Kubier is a father, a resident of Munich, a loyal expat resource and an ambulatory worker/certified paramedic. For his updates and news visit him on his FB Page

His next First Aid course in English will be April 1st at Elki in Schwabing. The course is a course for parents, nannies, caregivers etc., where things from broken bones to CPR are covered.

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