Washington teenagers prepare for adventures in baby-sitting

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

By Staff
Staff Writer
The Safe Sitters program at Beaufort County Medical Center, which teaches preteens tips for taking care of tots, is offering classes throughout the spring and summer.
The single-day class is for children from 11 to 13 years old, and will be offered on April 17, June 18, July 14 and Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The relatively young age range for eligible students is to give preteens an early start on baby-sitting practices, said Ronda Ketner, Safe Sitters site coordinator/instructor.
Upon completion of the class, students receive the Safe Sitter manual, a completion card, a list of important phone numbers, a Post-it notepad and a Safe Sitter pen.
The class costs $50 and is limited to six participants.
Ketner brought the program to the medical center in July 2004 after doing some instructional training. In her admittedly biased opinion, she said it is “the best program I’ve ever seen for baby-sitting.”
The class teaches preteens how to use first aid, rescue breathing and the Heimlich maneuver on infants and children, and when to call the proper authorities, such as a parent or 911.
Ketner said it is gratifying to hear her former students’ baby-sitting success stories.
One of her former students used what she learned about the Heimlich maneuver to save her little sister’s life as the sister choked on a foreign object, Ketner said.
The class also teaches students about common behaviors of infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children, and how to treat baby-sitting as a business. Students are encouraged to have their parents network for baby-sitting jobs instead of posting flyers or advertising on the Internet.
At the end of the day, students take a written test on baby-sitting. If they pass, they’re given a completion card.
The class is interactive and includes a lot of role-playing scenarios, Ketner said.
Sarah Jennings, 13, of Washington, took the class in summer 2007 and highly recommends it for her peers.
Jennings said she takes her Safe Sitter manual with her whenever she baby-sits the neighbor children down the street.
Davis Rumley, 14, of Washington, said he signed up for the class to get some professional pointers on baby-sitting.
For more information or to register for the baby-sitting class, please call Ronda Ketner with the Beaufort County Medical Center Education Department at 975-4309 to register or for more information.