'Safe Sitter' program teaches kids basics of babysitting safety - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

'Safe Sitter' program teaches kids basics of babysitting safety

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JANESVILLE, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- A program aimed at educating kids about proper babysitting practices has been recognized among the best of its kind.

The Safe Sitter program at Mercy Health System was recently recognized by

Safe Sitter®, Inc., as a "top teaching site" for the second year in a row.

The program, offered by Mercy in both Janesville and Walworth, is taught by Jeanine Potts and other instructors.

Potts said it's "exciting" to be named as one of the country's top 25 Safe Sitter sites.

The Safe Sitter program was implemented at Mercy Health System in 1995. It has churned out more than 900 graduates since 2008.

"I had a lot of fun," said 11-year old graduate Amelia Clarquist. "I really liked it."

The one-day class is open to kids 11 through 13-years old. Although Potts said 14-year old students have enrolled in the past.

Babysitters to be are taught how to deal with a choking child or infant and how to perform CPR.

"It's better to learn before than after." said 12-year old graduate Ashlyn Schyvinck. "Like if (the child) stops breathing and you don't know what to do."

"It's not everyday that you can learn CPR in choking for an infant and a child," Potts said. "These kids could go to school, someone at school could be choking, and they could help them."

"This stems even further than babysitting," she said.

Shade Leitner, 11, is also a recent graduate of the class. He said he learned more than just emergency response techniques.

Leitner said he learned about dealing with a child that has behavioral issues and might be having a temper tantrum.

"In the future, you're probably going to have a child," Leitner said. "So it's good to know these things even if you don't babysit."

Potts said the safe sitter class also teaches children about choosing "where to babysit," and making sure they do not go into an unknown environment where they might feel uncomfortable.

They're also taught about professionalism.

"I learned how to meet new clients," said 13-year old graduate Megan Kreier. "How to make to direct eye contact, and to always smile."

Potts said Safe Sitter classes will be offered in both Janesville and Walworth in the coming months. Each class costs $45.00.

To register, call 608-756-6100 888-39-MERCY.

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