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Safe Sitters program promotes responsibility

Have you ever left your children with a babysitter wondering “Will the baby-sitter know what to do if this happens, or if that happens?”

Most parents do, no matter who the babysitter is, but there is a program at Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital that can help alleviate many of the “what-ifs.”

Safe Sitters is a program that provides potential babysitters with necessary information to do their job responsibly, teaching them what to do when adverse situations arise.

There has already been one session of Safe Sitters this year, but there is another session scheduled for Thursday, July 15, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the hospital classroom. It is open to boys and girls age 11 to 13. The cost for the class is $25.

Since the popular Safe Sitter program was introduced to west Alabama over a decade ago, more than 250 area children have participated in the medically-accurate instructional series that teaches youngsters how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. To register your son or daughter, or your child’s babysitter, call (334) 287-2626. There is room in this session for two more participants. All students must pre-pay before the class in order to save their spot.

The goal of Safe Sitter is to reduce the number of accidental and preventable deaths among children being cared for by babysitters. Thousands of young adolescents throughout the country have been trained by Safe Sitter to handle life-threatening emergencies.

BWWMH public relations director Chrissy Brooker said that many current parents took part in the program when they were younger, and now require their babysitters to have gone through the program.

All medical information is taught by certified professionals. During the course, students get hands-on practice in basic life-saving techniques so they are prepared to act in a crisis.

Safe Sitter participants also receive helpful tips to make them more confident caregivers. They learn safety and security precautions, such as what to do if a stranger comes to the door and when and how to call for help. They receive information on child development and age-appropriate activities, and they learn about the business aspects of babysitting. Information about the international Safe Sitter organization can be accessed via their Web site, www.safesitter.org.

To successfully complete the Safe Sitter program, the youngsters have to pass a rigorous practical and written test to show that they have mastered the key concepts and have the skills necessary to handle an emergency.

For more information about the program, call (334) 287-2626.