LEWISBURG – Twelve-year-old Dylan Dutcher-King has been asking his parents about babysitting for years, but his mother and father have said he is too young.
This summer, the teenager, who will be 13 in August, found a babysitting class and eventually got permission from Brian King and Dabrina Dutcher, both professors at Bucknell University, to pursue a burgeoning passion. In late July, Dylan takes a five-day course at the Lewisburg Children’s Museum.
âI’ve always loved young children,â said Dylan, who recently graduated from Greenwood Friends School in Millville. âAt the moment I’m in school helping out on a summer camp for younger children. I think it would be nice to do it and make some money on the side. If you attend an official babysitting course, the credentials will be increased. “
One thing Dylan looks forward to is first aid training – “It’s a useful skill that can be learned off-course,” he said.
Dabrina Dutcher said her son has always been “a little self-confident, maybe because he’s an only child”.
“He has always been known for taking care of younger students,” she said. âHe wanted to do more babysitting. We thought he would qualify as a babysitter. I was grateful to give him more training.
The Lewisburg Children’s Museum at 815 Market St., Lewisburg, will host the Babysitting Basics Camp July 26-30. Evangelical Community Hospital hosted the Safe Sitter Babysitting course on July 14th at the Miller Center for Recreation and Wellness, 120 Hardwood Drive, Lewisburg, and will offer additional courses on August 6th, October 12th and December 29th.
“Many parents are at home, everyone is at home,” says museum director Kahla Woodling DeSmit. âParents have a double duty, so this course is intended for slightly older children who can be in charge for a few minutes. It’s about working together. “
She added, âBabysitting is such an important responsibility for everyone. It is extremely important to understand how to deal with emergencies and different situations and how to optimally prepare for your first babysitting job. “
The course is recommended for ages 8 and up and is limited to 12 participants. The Lewisburg Children’s Museum Course runs Monday, July 26th through Friday, July 30th, 9am to 12pm.
On the first day, Evangelical staff will be invited to speak about safety and emergency situations. The rest of the week includes exercises for real babysitting skills, food and nutrition, how to prepare snacks, hygiene tips, how to deal with younger children, positive reinforcement strategies, and other topics.
“This is a brand new camp for us,” said DeSmit. âOne of the nice things about COVID is how it encourages collaboration. We have been fortunate to work with other children’s museums and share curriculum ideas. This has been shared with us and we look forward to seeing the fruits of it. “
The goal is to give the older children confidence, she said.
“We’re excited to have the next group of babysitters out there and ready,” said DeSmit.
The National Safe Sitter Program began in 1980 after an 18-month-old girl was hospitalized by Dr. Patricia Keener had died in Indianapolis. The little girl, the daughter of a co-worker who worked as a nurse in the maternity ward, had choked on breakfast, and the adult babysitter who looked after her didn’t know how to rescue a choked child. When the ambulance took the girl to the hospital, it was loud too late safesitter.org.
âGalvanized by this tragedy, Dr. Keener developed a curriculum to teach middle-school age children life skills, safety skills, and first aid and rescue skills, âhe says safesitter.org. âShe taught first grade at her own children’s school, then started teaching at the Community Hospital. Eventually she trained others to teach the classes, and the program soon spread throughout the Midwest. With the help of a grant from the Lilly Foundation, the program was introduced nationwide. In 1988 the program was taught in 28 states and in 1995 in all 50 states. “
Ann Dzwonchyk, health and wellness educator for the Evangelical Community, who supports the Safe Sitter program for Evangelical, said the hospital has been running these training courses in the Valley for years. The popular program is filled quickly and this summer limited to 12 participants for the time being.
“It’s a good course, it’s a thorough course,” said Dzwonchyk. âYou come with some good babysitting skills. Much of what they learn can be put into practice by observing their siblings or themselves. Teenagers are babysitters and need to know what to do in an emergency. “
The course provides safety knowledge and first aid. Participants are certified in Safe Sitter and CPR. They learn what to do when they are outside or inside, whether someone is knocking on the door they do not know, how to gauge which age group the babysitter prefers to guard. You will learn about diapers, hot water bottles, feeding, entertainment and other topics, Dzwonchyk said.
“They will know when it is time to use a patch instead of asking parents for advice or calling 911,” she said. “We go beyond gagging for both the child and the sitter.”
Dzwonchyk said the babysitting business is also being discussed and the professional attitude of the jobs, she said.
The course at the Miller Center is suitable for children 11 years and older, she said.
The American Red Cross also offers babysitting classes at https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/babysitting/babysitting-child-care-training/babysitting-classes.