Parents might feel like they are flying blindly when it comes to picking a good babysitter for their little one. It can be a tough, stressful decision to decide who to pick. That is why Safe Sitter classes are offered in Southwest Louisiana to ensure that the kids tweens babysit are in good, safe hands.
Emergency skills, potentially life-saving information and basic childcare techniques are all part of the curriculum in the Safe Sitter class at Women and Children's Hospital with registered nurse, Celeste Walsh. "We do anything from basic first aid, from a bee sting all the way up to CPR and choking," she said.
Walsh is a certified Safe Sitter instructor, part of a national organization that started in 1980 after the choking death of a baby while in a sitter's care.
Girls and boys, ages 11 to 13, are taught in an eight-hour long session with hands on learning opportunities. "In the CPR section, we have to learn the mechanics of CPR," said Walsh, "so they all have to do hands-on and be checked off. We also do choking child and choking infant rescue and they have to do hands on for that as well."
12-year-old Abby Bath completed the course and says she is confident in her babysitter role, whether it is with an infant, toddler or older child. "If they're choking how to save them," said Bath, "and I learned how to change a diaper and I learned all the emergency contact numbers."
The tweens are tested at the end of the class on their knowledge of handling emergencies and basic childcare. They are also given a color-coded quick reference book for future sittings. "If you're in an emergency, you're going to panic to begin with and so if they have it already engrained that yes I have a tool that helps me," said Walsh.
That tool is something that brings peace of mind to these young sitters and to the parents entrusting children into their care.
It is not recommended that children under the age of 12 babysit or stay home alone.
If you would like to enroll your 11-13 year old daughter or son in a safe sitter course, there are two in store this summer at Women and Children's Hospital on Nelson Road in Lake Charles.
*Monday, June 17
*Friday, July 12
Both classes are from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. It is $45 and includes supplies, a tote bag and lunch. Call 475-4788 to register.