PREPARED: Mikeisha Butterfield, Bermuda Red Cross health and safety coordinator, with the babysitter course manual and one of the dolls used for training.
Photo by Amanda Dale
PREPARED: Mikeisha Butterfield, Bermuda Red Cross health and safety coordinator, with the babysitter course manual and one of the dolls used for training. Photo by Amanda Dale
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Your children are your most precious possessions, so when you need a babysitter you want to make sure you can trust that person to take care of them properly.

If you are looking for peace of mind, it makes sense to hire someone who has completed the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course.

Organized by the American Red Cross and run through the Bermuda Red Cross here on the island, the four-day course trains young people in babysitting skills, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and in First Aid.

The courses are open to 12-16-year-old boys and girls and have been running in Bermuda for more than 10 years.

Trust

Scheduled during the school holidays, the next one is due to run during the first two weeks of April.

Mikeisha Butterfield, Bermuda Red Cross health and safety coordinator, said: “There is a need for it because parents can have busy schedules at work or with appointments, and they may not want to put their children in a holiday camp.

“So, for parents who are not able to be with their child all the time, with this certification they can rely on someone who can cover the basics.

“You want to have that trust when someone else is looking after your child.

“Parents can contact us to find out about the course, and they may also want to contact the potential babysitter’s school to do a background check on what kind of person they are.”

Miss Butterfield said the course also prepares the babysitter in operating a service, and the kind of questions they are likely to expect from parents.

“When we run the course we also explain about the different religious beliefs people may have, and how you may not be able to behave in a certain way in someone else’s home.

“Babysitting is not just about money and sitting around while the parents are out. You’ve got to interact with the children, and if they’ve got homework to do you may have to help them with that. There may also be cooking or cleaning tasks involved.

“This training course helps young people to grow. It helps teenagers to take on more responsibility and to be more independent.”

The babysitting students practice skills such as feeding, dressing and diapering on a doll, as well as CPR and First Aid, using a mannequin.

Miss Butterfield said: “The course is not just about the basics of babysitting but also certifies the young person in Adult, Infant & Child CPR and in First Aid.”

First Aid training includes treating burns, seizures, poisoning, bleeding, strokes, choking, and spinal, head and neck injuries.

The Bermuda Red Cross promotes the course in the island’s schools and via word of mouth.

The first two days focus on babysitting basics and guidelines.

“We guide them through leadership, the business of babysitting, being safe on the job, what you need to look out for, and what the children can and can’t do,” said Miss Butterfield.

“It’s also about giving children positive role model actions of how to behave, and understanding that children aged under-one to up to 10 won’t want to do the same thing.

“We teach students appropriate play activities for each age group, the appropriate time for bedtime, and encouraging positive behaviour from the child.

“We teach them basic childcare techniques, such as holding, carrying, feeding, diapering and
dressing.”

She added: “But the babysitters also need to talk to their parents to discuss what they may be capable of dealing with themselves, appropriate to their own age.

For example, could you look after a newborn compared with a two-year-old or an older child? Could you handle looking after more than one child?

“An older babysitter aged 16 may be able to handle a few children, compared with a 12-year-old, who may only be capable of handling one.

Certification

“The days of the week can also make a difference, as children may act differently on the weekend, compared with a weekday.

“The last two days of the course, we cover emergency CPR and First Aid,” said Miss Butterfield.

“We cover the three C’s — Check, Call and Care, and the ABC’s, which stands for Airway, Breathing and Circulation. We take the student through looking after an unconscious casualty until help arrives.”

The $100 Babysitter’s Training course fee includes certification in
Adult, Infant & Child CPR and Basic First Aid (both renewable after two years), a manual, CD-Rom, a knapsack containing a basic First Aid kit, and certification cards. They can refresh their skills every two years for $100.

 

Bermuda Red Cross, Charleswood, 9 Berry Hill Road, Paget. See www.bermudaredcross.com or call 236-8253. For more information on the American Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course, see www.redcross.org

 

SIDEBAR

Red Cross Babysitter’s Training course

Open to girls and boys aged 12-16, the Red Cross Babysitter’s Training Course certifies in Adult, Infant and Child CPR and Basic First Aid.

The course aims to provide “the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and responsibly give care for children and infants”.

It takes place over four days, from 8:45am-1pm, at the Bermuda Red Cross, 9 Berry Hill Road, Paget. Cost: $100.

The course consists of several components:

You’re the Boss: A Guide to Leadership. This provides basic leadership skills, such as role modeling, respect, communication, decision making and taking action.

The Business of Babysitting. This focuses on assessing babysitting skills, finding work, creating a resume, how much to charge, interviewing, and professional behaviour.

Safe & Sound on the Job. This discusses safety issues related to babysitting, including safe play.

Understanding Kids from 0-10. This discusses childhood development and behaviour, including information on how to: Select developmentally-appropriate activities; guide children in safe and effective play; encourage positive behaviour; and handle common behavioural challenges.

From Feeding to Bedtime: Caring for Kids. This discusses all the essentials of basic childcare, such as safe techniques for holding, carrying, feeding, diapering and dressing.

It’s an Emergency… Now What? This covers CPR and First Aid skills, such as dealing with bee stings, allergic reactions, asthma, and burns. It teaches how to do a consciousness check on children and infants; an unconscious check; conscious choking; rescue breathing; and controlling external bleeding. 

On completion, the course issues the following certificates: Babysitters’ Training; Adult, Infant & Child CPR (valid for two years); and Basic First Aid (valid for two years).

To enrol on the course, contact Mikeisha Butterfield on 236-8253, extension 222, or e-mail redcrosstraining@logic.bm