Keeping Kids Safe: ‘Safe sitter’ classes teach kids, teens basic childcare skills

Keeping Kids Safe

The final class of the summer is on Aug. 6 at St. Joseph Hospital in Warren

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – During the summer, many young kids and teens take to babysitting as a way to earn some cash and help out around the house.

The Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley is looking to make sure all babysitters know how to do so safely.

They’re offering “safe sitter” classes that feature lessons on everything from first-aid and accident prevention to emergency care like CPR and infant rescue breathing.

“I think one of the most important skills that we teach the kids in class is how to handle an infant or child choking. The reason that safe sitter came to be was due to a tragedy that happened in 1980 where an adult babysitter was babysitting and the child choked and the adult didn’t know what to do. Sadly, that child died, and safe sitter was born out of that,” said Community Health Educator Kelly Brown.

Brown is one of the class’ instructors. She says the goal is to teach a future sitter how to take care of themselves and keep the kids in their care safe as well.

“The parents can expect that their kids would learn basic babysitting. So, childcare skills, bedtime routines, behavior management, how to change a diaper but also very important safety skills such as what to do if they smell smoke or what to do if the power goes out. So, how to handle those situations that could come up that could cause a child to panic and now they have the tools that will empower them to not be so frightened,” she said.

Each class is almost seven hours long and is for any child going into sixth grade or older.

“They come in, deer in the headlights, afraid to say a word, and then by lunchtime they’re participating, they’re smiling, they’re making friends and they’re definitely feeling more confident with the lessons because we do incorporate repetition throughout the class,” Brown said.

The class is offered at both St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown and St. Joseph Hospital in Warren. The cost is $30 a student and scholarships are available.

The final class of the summer is on Aug. 6 at St. Joseph’s, spots are still open. The class is offered six times per summer.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child or want more information about scholarships, call Mercy Health’s Community Health Education at 330-480-3070.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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