While leaving the Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition Board meeting at Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One late last month, I spotted GHF&M1’s Prevention Specialist, Nanette Tatom, teaching her Safe Sitter program. It was a golden opportunity to see our responsible young people preparing to meet the challenges of caring for someone else’s child. Nanette kindly allowed me to sit in as an observer, camera in hand.
Safe Sitter began because of a tragedy: the accidental death of a nurse’s young child while in the care of an adult babysitter. Patricia A. Keener, M.D. recognized the vulnerability of young children when cared for by unprepared providers, so she created a program to teach young teens how to be better, safer babysitters. For more than 35 years, Safe Sitter has been a leader in providing life skills, safety skills, and child care training for youth. Now a national nonprofit organization with over 900 Registered Teaching Sites in all 50 states, Safe Sitter continues to help build safer communities by providing youth with the skills they need to be safe while home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting.
KPMS sixth-grader Sofia Maffei said she liked “actually getting to do CPR and abdominal thrusts on the manikins and seeing what to do in a real situation.”
Kopachuck Middle School eighth-grader Christian Speidel and brother Landon Speidel, a Kopachuck sixth-grader, practiced CPR techniques on toddler and infant mannequins. Landon’s favorite thing about the class was “learning about abdominal thrusts and CPR.” He also liked practicing on the mannequins and said he “plans to use the behavior tips he learned in the class his whole entire life.”
Course content includes: Safety Skills: Indoor safety, outdoor safety, online safety and personal safety; Child Care Skills: Child development, child care routines including diapering practice and behavior management; First Aid & Rescue Skills: Injury prevention, injury management and choking rescue. CPR is an optional component, and Life & Business Skills: Screening jobs, setting fees and greeting employers.
Discovery Elementary fifth-grader Olivia Sweet said she “liked learning how to help a baby when they are choking and how to do CPR.” Olivia also said she thought the class was fun.
In early February, Key Peninsula Fire Safe Sitter instructors Anne Nesbit and Claudia Jones trained five new Safe Sitters for the Key Peninsula community. Nesbit advised that Key Peninsula Fire offers Safe Sitter and CPR courses. Call 253-884-2222 to schedule a class.
Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One offers this course during the school district breaks. It is an 11-hour course taught over three days. The next class will be offered during the Peninsula School District Spring Break, April 17, 18 and 19. For more information, visit gigharborfire.org or call 253-851-5111.
You just might save a life!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.