Teens Learn Safe Sitter Skills at CSM Summer Camp

Sessions Run Throughout the Summer Beginning June 18

            According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the top causes of non-fatal injuries in children under age 4 are falls, being hit by a falling object, choking, bites and stings, and burns and cuts.

The Safe Sitter® camp offered through the College of Southern Maryland’s Teen College this summer gives young caregivers the tools they need to avoid unsafe situations and to know how to react when someone is injured or emergencies arise.

“There are cases when children who were certified through the Safe Sitter program went on to save lives of not only the children they were caring for, but also their parents,” said CSM Youth Program Coordinator John Terlesky of the story of Cody Nance on the Safe Sitter website.

When Nance’s mother was choking on food that had gotten stuck in her throat, he knew just what to do: he stepped behind her, gave three quick, forceful abdominal thrusts and dislodged the food. Nance had taken the course in 2003 at his mother’s urging and little did she know that her son would save her life four years later.

Through the CSM’s Teen College, area 11- to 14-year-olds who care for a sibling or are interested in babysitting can be Safe Sitter® certified through camps offered at each of the college’s three campuses. The half-day classes, held four or five days a week, beginning June 18, can be taken from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. or from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Students learn infant and child CPR and choking rescue, first aid, and injury management. Students also learn techniques for preventing problem behavior, behavior management and preventing injuries.

The Safe Sitter® program is administered by Calvert Memorial Hospital (CMH). “The program has been running since 2002 with classes held monthly and during winter and spring breaks. With the CSM classes we are branching out beyond Calvert County,” said CMH Program Coordinator Karen Mohn. As the classes have many hands-on and role-playing activities the student to instructor ratio is 8:1, said Mohn. Students who complete the training receive a certificate from CMH and a wallet certification card from Safe Sitter’s national office.

            Approximately, 35,000 adolescents complete the program every year. Now in its 30th year, the Safe Sitter® program has taught more than 500,000 young adults.

            For course schedules and information, visit www.csmd.edu/KidsCollege, or johnt@csmd.edu.