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Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

Tweens receive hands-on training for baby-sitting

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

(Photo)
Eleven-year-old Locan Hamra, right, changes her baby's diaper as Shelby Wagoner, 13, and Sydney Davied, 12, watch.
SIKESTON -- Without thinking, Logan Hamra snatched her "baby" up and held it in mid-air as she attempted to place a diaper underneath the doll.

"Would you hold a baby like that?" questioned her instructor Kylie Wibbenmeyer.

The 11-year-old quickly realized her mistake and proceeded to correctly change the doll on a flat surface.

"You need to treat the dolls like they''re real babies," Wibbenmeyer told a group of 11- to 14-year-old girls. "Pick your babies up like they''re real babies -- and talk to them."

On Tuesday, Hamra, along with several of her peers, learned baby-sitting basics as well as how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children through the first Safe Sitters course offered by Missouri Delta Medical Center.

Among specifics discussed included baby-sitting as a business, how to properly feed a baby, first aid techniques, such as the Heimlich maneuver, stages of child behavior and lots more, the students said.

"And you should wear appropriate clothing, like a T-shirt and jeans -- not party clothes," said Sydney Davied, 12. "And no jewelry."

"If you have long hair, you should wear it up," added Betsy Borgsmiller, 11.

The only reasons a baby sitter should cancel are for a family emergency, illness or being grounded. "You shouldn''t cancel for a party," Sydney said.

In Sikeston, the girls admitted most of their baby-sitting jobs come from family friends. And the average baby-sitting rate is around $4-$7 an hour.

"You shouldn''t advertise for jobs," said 11-year-old Ellie McReynolds. "And if someone calls you and you don''t know them, but they said they know your aunt, you should call your aunt first and see if she knows them."

To successfully complete the day-long program, students must pass a practical and written test to show they have mastered the key concepts and have the skills necessary to handle an emergency.

Thirteen-year-old Shelby Wagoner said she was taking the course because she has two younger siblings and will have to baby-sit them.

"My mom''s having a baby, and she thought it''d be better if I took this class," said Casey Castaneda, 12.

And Ellie said she''s baby-sat before -- but she wants to be able to baby-sit alone.

"She''s done a little bit of baby-sitting, but she''s just 11," said Ellie''s mom, Cindie McReynolds. "She loves it, but she''s wanting to do more of it."

McReynolds said she thought if her daughter was going to take on the responsibly of baby-sitting, she''d better have a little training.

"Even with me telling her what to expect, it''s not the same," McReynolds admitted. "They will cover things I''m sure I would not even think of."

Joan Chinnadurai said it was her idea that her 14-year-old daughter, Jessica, take the course.

"I thought if she took the course, she would be well-equipped to handle baby-sitting, and more importantly, these are good parenting skills," Chinnadurai said. "... Looking after a child is a very big responsibility and looking after someone else''s child is even a greater responsibility."

Since Jessica is the youngest of two children, Chinnadurai thought Safe Sitters would help her daughter, who wants to be a pediatrician, gain a better perspective on children.

"The older siblings have the opportunity with the younger ones and this might be a great way of learning," Chinnadurai said.

Plus the course can put the baby sitter''s parents and the parents they baby sit for a little more at ease, McReynolds pointed out.

She said: "If I had a small child and I had a baby-sitter that at least made that effort (to attend Safe Sitters), it would make it more appealing to hire them."

For more information about future Safe Sitters courses, contact Wibbenmeyer, MDMC Safe Sitter coordinator, at (573) 472-7375.