ENCORE: Urbandale Mom Calls 4-Year-Old Who Saved Her Life "Extraordinary"
Raine Arnold went into insulin shock on Sept. 29 and woke up to find that her son was a hero. Today, their story is featured nationally.
We told you this story earlier in the week. Today, we feature it again as Huffington Post honors Khayden Arnold as The Greatest Person of the Day.
Khayden Arnold isn't sure whether he will be Spider Man or Death Stroke for Halloween, but he knows he wants to be a superhero because "they save the day."
After the events of last month, Khayden could go as himself.
Lately, his mom has been teaching him a big word about superheroes: she says they are "extraordinary." Extraordinary means they can do something that people normally can't, she tells him.
Raine Arnold has been using that word to describe Khayden ever since the 4-year-old called 911 on Sept. 29. Khayden spent 15 minutes on the phone directing police to his home after mom lost consciousness due to insulin shock.
Compelling 911 Recording: To listen, click on the video.
"I let him know how proud I was that he did everything right," she said. As a person with type 1 diabetes, Raine began teaching her sons, Jordyn, 6, and Khayden, how to dial 911 as soon as they learned to recognize numbers.
"As soon as I knew they were able to operate a phone, I started teaching them on a landline," she said. "I taught them just in case."
Khayden still gets the numbers mixed up sometimes his mom says. "I called 991," he proudly tells a reporter.
Khayden's conversation with the dispatcher captivated the country when the recording was made public by the Urbandale Police Department and Polk County Sheriff's Office. National television news shows wanted to fly the family out for interviews and the hoopla was "purely chaotic" for a few days, Raine said.
That Khayden was able to help Polk County Dispatcher Maggie Brodeur locate them was all the more amazing when Raine notes that she and her sons had just moved to Iowa a week earlier.
On the recording of the call, Brodeur repeatedly tries to get Khayden to tell her his address. Because he had called on his mother's cell phone, Brodeur didn't have his location. At one point, Khayden tells her slowly and distinctly that he is in I-O-W-A.
The family has been staying with friends in Urbandale and Raine said she barely knew the house address after a week. That her preschool son knew they were living in Iowa was pretty amazing, she said.
Raine said she was at home watching Khayden and their friend's 3-year-old daughter. Jordyn was in school. She had been struggling to keep her blood glucose up all morning: It kept plummeting despite the juice she was drinking.
She said the last thing she remembers was calling her friend and asking her to come home.
Doctors later discovered that she had two separate infections going on, which can destabilize blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
Raine said she is extremely grateful that her son stayed so calm with the dispatcher and stayed on the phone, but she's not surprised that he dialed 911.
In fact, she wants other parents to "definitely just understand that a kid's potential is way higher than you think it would be."
Preschoolers Can Be Taught 911
Shannon Sandahl, a licensed social worker who works with children and adolescents at the Everest Institute in Urbandale, said young children are capable of dialing 911 or following other simple safety rules if parents calmly and consistently reinforce those things with them.
Parents can begin teaching basic safety rules of the house when the child is 2 or 3. Start teaching a child his or her address at ages 3 or 4. Most children will know their address by the time they are 5 or 6.
Keep it simple and use a lot of repetition, she advised.
Sandahl said the dispatcher deserves credit for keeping Khayden calm on the phone, but she's not surprised that he did not become hysterical.
"At 4, they are pretty concrete thinkers," she said. "I don't think he understood that there was something real serious with mom and she could possibly die. He just knew that mom was not waking up and that was not normal."