On a sunny, warm morning in Red Lake, Minnesota, 29 fifth-graders from Red Lake Elementary School were not out enjoying weather. Instead, they were inside a classroom learning how to care for others as part of an American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training class.
Wearing gloves while cradling baby dolls, the children stood in two-person teams practicing skills and repeating Red Cross instructor Debbie Foster’s directions for how to respond to a choking emergency.
“Keep coughing! Are you okay? Call 911!” were some of the verbal directions given by Foster and her co-instructor Lois Holman. With laughing and learning, the children loudly repeated the directions as they worked with the dolls, child-sized manikins, and each other.
During babysitter’s training, students learn how to respond to emergency situations, protecting children during common local disasters, such as house fires, tornadoes and lightening strikes. They learn first aid for choking victims, how to hold an infant and how to keep an injured person safe when responding. They also get tips on how to entertain youngsters, deal with tantrums and to care for scraped knees.
Arleen Swenson, their regular school teacher, has worked at Red Lake Elementary for 15 years. She says that her students are right for this training.
“Our kids need to be able to take care of themselves, their siblings and children in their extended families,” says Swenson. “Many of our 10 and 11 year-olds are already active babysitters. We’re glad the Red Cross is here to teach them how to be safe.”
Red Cross Babysitter Training teaches vital skills to youth entrusted with the care of children. From now until July 31, 2013, the Red Cross is offering 20% off all Babysitter Training classes, including our online course Babysitting Basics. For more information, click here. Use coupon code INDY200913 when registering.
Story and photos by Judy Hanne-Gonzalez/American Red Cross. The Red Lake training was made possible with grant funding from the Otto Bremer Foundation.