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Sharpen Your Babysitting Skills with Red Cross Training
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Shilpika Das
December 18, 2007

Emily Jackson was only 13 when she saved a life.

When she signed up for the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course, Emily had no idea she would use her new skills to save her three-year-old brother’s life. While babysitting Alex early this year, Emily left him to go to the kitchen. She returned moments later and found him choking on a piece of candy.

Emily Jackson has been recommended for a Certificate of Merit for saving her three-year-old brother’s life.(Photo: Carrie Matsel)
Emily Jackson has been recommended for a Certificate of Merit for saving her three-year-old brother’s life.
(Photo: Carrie Matsel)

“I heard a wheezing sound and saw Alex with his hands by his throat,” says Emily. “I immediately performed abdominal thrusts, but it didn't work. I grabbed the phone and called 9-1-1.”

While on the phone with emergency responders, Emily administered abdominal thrusts again, this time, successfully dislodging candy from Alex’s throat.  

“I can't explain how I felt when I answered my cell phone and a man identifying himself as an Auburn police officer said he was at my home,” says Carrie Matsel, Emily’s mother. “The officer said that the dispatcher commented on what a great job she had done and how calm she was on the phone with him.”

For the Indiana-based Jackson family, Emily’s presence of mind made the difference between life and death. “I was just glad I knew what to do,” says Emily.  

The American Red Cross trains thousands of people like Emily to be responsible babysitters. The training gives young adults the skills to take on the responsibilities of the job and the training they need to act in an emergency. The training not only offers valuable skills to youth looking for jobs, but also provides peace of mind to parents who want to feel confident their children are in the care of a competent babysitter.

The program teaches 11- to 15-year-olds how to care for an infant, feed children of all ages; distinguish between life-threatening and less serious emergencies, and even interview perspective employers.

“Students learn the importance of presenting themselves well,” says Jean Cappello, a Red Cross instructor at the Greater New York Chapter. “Knowing a family's rules, expectations, and cultural preferences are all aspects of being a good babysitter.”

Taught by Red Cross-certified instructors, the lessons also include first aid and basic care skills. Decision-making aptitude and solutions for real-life problems are addressed, and students are taught to deal with common problems like bedtime issues, misbehaving children, and what to do when a stranger calls.

Help your children hone their babysitting skills by taking the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course. For more information and resources for babysitters, visit www.redcross.org.

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.

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