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"Safe Sitter" classes offered

Ministry St. Claire's Hospital-Weston, WI
Ministry St. Claire's Hospital-Weston, WI

WESTON, Wis. (WSAU) -- When it comes to babysitting, the more you know, the safer the baby and the sitter will be. There’s a class designed to teach 11-to-13 year-olds what they need to know to be a safe babysitter. Nurse Michelle Pagel is with Ministry St. Claire’s Hospital, which is offering the one day Safe Sitter program. She says they spend time with their students showing them important skills they might not learn on the job. “We’re not teaching them just babysitting, we’re teaching them life skills, and some of the life skills that we include (are) choking for a child and an infant rescue.”

Pagel says it’s important for babysitters to learn how babysitting is a business, and there are situations they need to be prepared for. She says it’s important to learn good safety practices and how to handle emergencies because injuries are the leading cause of death for children under five. “There’s an increase in SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and taking care of them, and there’s different safety things that parents aren’t aware of, so we’re teaching our sitters, so when they go there, they can identify the risks that the home might have, or the risks of taking a babysitting job.”

Babysitters need to know what each job involves, and Pagel says they need to evaluate the potential babysitting job before accepting it. “We help them choose the correct and take the correct babysitting jobs, so we don’t want them to take just any job offered to them, we want them to choose and make sure they’re safe as well.”

Pagel says the knowledge and skills young people learn in the Safe Sitter class are skills they are likely to need later in life. “The Safe Sitters logo is better sitters today, better parents tomorrow, so again, we’re just really focusing on teaching them more than just babysitting, we’re teaching them life skills that they’re going to use forever.” Safe Sitter Classes will be held on January 24, February 17, March 31, April 4 and April 21st at Saint Clare’s Hospital. Cost for the class is $50 and includes a student handbook. Advanced registration is requested and space is limited.

For registration information, please contact Michelle Pagel at 715.393.3046 or email michelle.pagel@ministryhealth.org

(Our interview with Michelle Pagel can be heard on our website, here.)