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Safe Sitter Training
Could Save Lives

By Ty Walker

Safe Sitter Training
Could Save Lives

The Safe Sitter training program came to the local community, thanks to the support of a partnership between the Hoodland Fire District and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The free training is aimed at teaching middle schoolers safety and business skills to prepare them for babysitting and staying home alone.

Interest in the course is so high in the Mount Hood area that the two classes scheduled for the last weekend of February filled up quickly, with capacity for only eight students per class, Safe Sitter Site Coordinator Meg Hoopes said.

“There was quite a lot of demand,” she said. “Once we put the word out, people were really interested.”
In order to meet the need, Hoopes is collecting names to put on a waiting list for future classes yet to be scheduled.

“We’re hoping to be able to expand this and add more classes and more dates,” Hoopes said. “If people want to reach out and get on a waiting list for future dates, they can contact me.”

A volunteer instructor, Teresa Peltier, with her background in education, will teach the Safe Sitter curriculum in Welches. The Hoodland Fire District will provide a firefighter certified to teach CPR at the main fire station. There is no cost to the students because of the fire district sponsorship.

Besides first aid and rescue skills for infants and children of all ages, participants will learn things they can do when they’re home alone during weather emergencies or power outages. The program covers needs in the community that aren’t being met.

“There’s a pretty big child care shortage for families with young kids,” said Hoopes, a public health researcher for a nonprofit organization.

Safe Sitter also trains middle school children how to do something productive with their time, given the money-earning potential of babysitting.

The origin of the Safe Sitter program came from tragedy. In 1980, Patricia A. Keener, M.D. was pregnant with her third child and worked as the Director of Nurseries at Community Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.
One spring morning as Dr. Keener was talking with a nurse who was a new mother, she received an emergency page. The ambulance was bringing in a child that had choked while eating breakfast that morning. She immediately rushed to the emergency room to help this child, but it was too late. The child had died.

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