Babysitting class teaches sitters to be safe

Babysitting is not just for date night, but a necessity for many parents. United States Census data from 2006 shows about 16 percent of all children are taken care of by non-relatives in a non-formal environment, like a person's home. Marta Benglis, Registered Nurse and perinatal educator at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, said many working parents live in the lake area and need babysitters to keep their children safe especially in the summer time.

Alara Lejeune, 12, started babysitting about a year ago and said she loves the job.

"It's not like doing paperwork or anything. It's fun," said Lejeune.

She said the extra spending money helps sweeten the deal.

"It's good for girls who want to be girls and spend their own money instead of their parents money," said Lejeune.

When a diaper needs changing, a baby needs swaddling or worse the child starting choking a sitter could lose their cool. The Safe Sitter class at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women teaches how to properly do the heimlich maneuver and gives the participants a manual to take on sitter jobs as a resource for information.

"They have guidelines that let them know they need to call the neighbor next door...when they need to call the parent...when they need to call their parents," said Benglis.

From babies to older kids, the class teaches sitters to be comfortable with different ages. Benglis said the child's safety is important, but sitters have to focus on their own safety as well. She said the participants practice phone calls and how to screen potential babysitting clients.

The class is offered for boys and girls ages 11 through 13. The next class is July 20, 2011.

Call (337) 480-7243 to register.

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