Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
First aid, CPR, nutritious food options and diapering were among the skills six youths learned at the Child and Youth Services Babysitting Basics Course July 7-9 at Harrold Youth Center.
By the end of the course, each clinic graduate received a certificate showing that they were American Heart Association first aid and CPR certified, had attended the Babysitting Basics Course and are eligible to be added to the CYS Parent Central baby-sitter referral list.
The Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth Supplement to Army Regulation 608-18, “The Army Family Advocacy Program,” has specific guidance for on-post babysitting. Chapter 10, sections 4 and 5, lay out guidelines for proper supervision based on the age of the baby sitter. Babysitters ages 12 and older can babysit after completing a course such as the Babysitting Basics Course. However, babysitters ages 12-14 must be checked on by an adult every three hours by telephone or in person. Babysitters ages 15-17 can be left alone up to six hours during the day or evening hours. Babysitters must be 18 or older to provide overnight care, and parents must ensure that an appropriate medical power of attorney is available.
For CYS, children can take the class starting at 12 years old because that is the minimum age for CPR; however, a child must be 13 and provide a signed permission form from a parent or guardian before he or she is added to the CYS referral list.
Chris Wecas, CYS outreach services director; Kimberly Montague, CYS program operations specialist, and Amy Domann, CYS nurse, presented the three days of training and covered the importance of safety and supervision, CPR and first aid, child developmental ages, the seven principles of discipline and guidance, safe infant handling, ideas for entertaining infants and children, diapering and bedtime, the business of babysitting, providing nutritional meals and more.
“We emphasize safety first, fun second,” Wecas said. “(The best part) is the confidence you see them get in themselves (throughout the course). Some of them are very timid that first day, and then by the end of the course you can tell they’re a little more open to offering suggestions on how to solve a problem.”
Participants had differing reactions to the course and why they wanted to baby-sit.
“It’s really cool to see the different kinds of children that there are (when babysitting) and the different kinds of needs that they have,” said Landri Lopez, 17. “There’s a difference between a kid I babysit now versus a kid I babysat two years ago.
“Everything is a little bit different for everyone when you’re babysitting,” she said. “There’s not one set thing for every kid.”
Alexis Blackard, 12, said the course gave her the confidence that she’d be able to respond to an emergency if something happened in the future.
“I didn’t know how to (perform CPR) before and now I do,” Blackard said. “I don’t know if other kids know how to do it yet, and this is a good course to learn.”
Cheyenne Tyner, 13, said the things learned throughout the course were very important.
“You need to know these strategies in case of an emergency,” Tyner said. “(CPR) takes a lot of effort but knowing that it could save somebody’s life is worth it.”
Enrollment for the CYS Baby-sitting Basics Course is currently open for Aug. 10-12. Classes are 8 a.m. to noon at HYC.
The course is open to all registered youth 12-18 years old. Enroll at the CYS front desk, Parent Central or online through WebTrac. For more information, call 913-684-5138.