Red Cross camp trains babysitters

Area families who hire babysitters who complete the Red Cross Babysitter Boot Camp can be certain that those individuals are trained in more than just entertaining a child.

Roger Sack, health and safety coordinator for the River Valley Chapter, said seven young people are midway through the second babysitter boot camp this summer. A third is set for Monday through Aug. 7, and has eight people enrolled so far.

These Babysitter Boot Camps are for ages 11-15, and give participants the skills necessary to provide safe, responsible care for children in the absence of parents or adult guardians, he said.

"In the class, they come out with more than just babysitter certification," Sack said. They learn infant and child CPR, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid.

"They are also taking pet first aid, for dogs and cats, and through the Guard Start program, a pre-lifeguard training program, how to use an asthma inhaler and EpiPens," he said. "They end up coming out with quite a few certifications."

EpiPens are automatic injectors used for emergency treatment of allergic reactions for people who have a history of an anaphylactic reaction.

Not only that, the students are taught about Internet safety. They practice lifeguard training in local pools, at The Shack and BOPARC's Marilla Pool. And they are taught business practices, including how to interview families looking for babysitters.