Local organization urges North Country youth to receive babysitting certification

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — A local organization is working to teach North Country youth skills for babysitting.

The North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council is currently hosting its summer 2021 virtual babysitting course series. These courses are designed for youth ages 11 to 15 in Jefferson and Lewis counties and teaches participants skills to safely and responsibly care for infants and children.

Although for the summer courses are now full due to their previous success, experts from the Council offered reasons why youth and teens should become a certified babysitter if they plan to care for children or infants.

“Safety is your number one priority,” emphasized NCPPC Health Educator Stacie Moss. “We talk about being a fun babysitter and doing all these other things, but as a babysitter, safety is your number one priority. So hopefully [students] leave this class knowing how to handle [themselves] in an emergency.”

Moss added that they discuss basic leadership skills, the business behind babysitting, caring for children in different age groups and emergency preparedness.

These courses were started several years back after a need for these skill sets were identified.

We just recognized that there were a lot of young people who were one, taking care of siblings or other children in their families, or two, really wanted to be able to earn some money and have some independence. But needed some skillsets to be able to support them in developing a babysitting business,” added Director of Education and Enrollment Anne Garno.

Garno and Moss also added how these courses help participants gain confidence while home alone, with or without others.

“In class with the youth, we call it their ‘noticing skills.’ So, we’re going to think about if you see this, or if you hear this, what does that mean? What do you do to handle that situation then? So we really give them that confidence that I have those skills to notice and recognize what’s happening,” stated Moss.

“So thinking about possible solutions and alternatives and what could we do in this, which I think is very helpful for young people. Not just in babysitting, but even for a young person who’s starting to transition into staying home alone. Just to have a little bit of that content if a situation should arise, [they know what to] do,” added Garno.

The North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council continues to provide resources for local youth on babysitting safety. They plan to host additional babysitting courses throughout the year, specifically over school vacations.

The American Red Cross also provides babysitting certification and a full listing can be found on its website.

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