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When to call 112 or 999

There are two emergency numbers in Ireland - 112 and 999. They are free of charge to call from mobiles and landlines. The 112 number also works in all EU countries and from any phone, free of charge.

Always call 112 or 999 if your child is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk

You can contact all the emergency services by dialling either number.

This includes:

  • Gardaí
  • ambulance
  • fire brigade
  • coast guard

Call 112 or 999 and ask for an ambulance if your child:

  • is unconscious, especially if they had a recent fall or a head injury
  • is not breathing or turning blue around the lips or face
  • is choking (follow the first aid steps for choking while waiting for the ambulance to arrive)
  • has taken medication, poison or a chemical substance and is now difficult to wake up
  • is having a severe allergic reaction. This could include noisy breathing or difficulty breathing
  • has a large cut and you are unable to stop the bleeding
  • has a seizure for the first time
  • has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder and has a seizure lasting more than 5 minutes or has one seizure after another

Speech or hearing impairment

If you're deaf, have a hearing impairment or speech disorder, you can register for a service that will allow you to text 112 in an emergency. Register for this 112 SMS service in advance so that it will be ready to go in case of an emergency.

Children with seizure disorders

If your child has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, you may have been given instructions by their paediatrician and specialist nurses on what to do if they have a seizure. Follow those instructions.

If you have been given written instructions, keep them somewhere that is easy to access. Make sure that everyone who cares for your child knows where these instructions are.

Information you need when calling 112 or 999

When you ring 112 or 999, you will be asked:

  • your location
  • your Eircode, if possible
  • the phone number you are calling from (so that if you get disconnected, they can call you back)
    what has happened

Stay on the phone

When you dial 112 or 999, you will be asked which emergency service you need. Your call will be transferred to a call-taker from that service, for example the Ambulance Service.

While you are talking to the call-taker, they will send an ambulance.

You need to stay on the phone so they can give you advice on what to do next while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Page last reviewed: 14/11/2018
Next review due: 14/11/2021