Toddler calls 911 16 times; mom gets citation

ASTORIA, Ore. -- More than dozen 911 calls have been made from the Astoria home of Jessica May since last month.

There hasn't been an emergency.

May's 1-year-old daughter has accidentally called 911 dispatch about 16 times while playing with her mom's cellphone, including seven times last Thursday.

Astoria police said they have repeatedly warned May against allowing her daughter to play with the cellphone.

Frustrated, officers issued May a citation for improper use of an emergency reporting system.

The situation has prompted the question: How many parents allow their children to play with their cellphones?

One Astoria mother, Nicholle Mann, said she makes a point to teach her 4-year-old daughter the seriousness of calling 911. If Mann's phone isn't on her, it's in hard-to-reach places, she said.

And when her daughter is playing her favorite game on the phone, Mann said she keeps the sound on to ensure her daughter isn't accidentally making a call.

"It could potentially cause someone to lose their life because their child is holding up the line because they're not paying attention," she said.

That's the issue with accidental 911 calls, emergency officials say. Every 911 hang-up call requires a dispatcher to call back and see if there's an actual emergency.

The penalty if convicted of improper use of 911 is a $6,000 fine and up one year in jail.

Attempts by KATU to reach May on Wednesday were unsuccessful.