Baby sitters today, better parents later
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 16, 2009 2:00 AM
Wayne Memorial Hospital nurse Dayna Herring, second from left, instructs Katherine Gibbons, 10, and J.T. Tan, 12, in the proper way to perform CPR on young children and infants as Hannah Greer, 11, looks on.
There's more to baby-sitting than getting paid to watch TV while the parents are out.
In fact, it just may be preparing youth for the responsibilities that lie ahead.
"Better sitters today, better parents tomorrow" is the motto of the Safe Sitter organization, said Lisa Moyer, director of nursing services for pediatrics and nursery at Wayne Memorial Hospital. She is also program coordinator for the hospital's Safe Sitter program.
Introduced this summer at Wayne Memorial as a service to the community, it is also in response to the high mortality rates in the county and state.
"It's just a way to try to teach them how to care for their kids," she explained.
In July and August, the two-day classes were offered to 11-13-year-olds. In addition to covering basic child care, safety, first aid and behavioral issues, the course covered infant and child CPR and the business of baby-sitting. There is also a rigorous practical and written test.
Response to the introductory sessions was great, Ms. Moyer said, with 12 in the first class and 18 in the second.
"I think because we have pediatric nurses specifically teaching the classes, they have got some insight into the developmental level of the students and the children they'll be caring for," she said.
Since caring for a child is a needed skill, the hospital has decided to expand programs beyond the summer months, with four sessions being scheduled throughout the upcoming school year.
"We looked at the school calendar, and the next class will be during Christmas break, Dec. 28-29," she said. Others are planned for Jan. 18-19, March 26-27 and June 17-18.
Classes will be limited to 12 participants each. Cost is $20.
Registration in advance is accepted, by calling 731-6557 weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.