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The City Journals

Babysitters club: WVC Fire starts 101 course for youth

Apr 23, 2019 04:11PM ● By Travis Barton

With the help of people singing “Staying Alive,” Cole practices CPR after the Babysitting 101 class at Fire Station 74. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

There are lots of community classes out there, but what about a babysitting one?

That’s exactly what Kyle Stewart, a West Valley City engineer paramedic, started with his Firehouse EMS Academy. Stewart held a Babysitting 101 class, attended by 18 kids and six adults, in early March at Fire Station 74. 

“We wanted to find a way to not only give back, but get kids involved,” Stewart said. His daughter recently started babysitting, coming home with questions such as “what to do when an infant below 1 is choking?” or “what if they get into stuff they’re not supposed to?”

Not a lot of babysitting courses are offered around the valley. American Red Cross and Intermountain Healthcare offer classes while Lehi Fire holds classes quarterly. Stewart owns Firehouse EMS Academy in West Valley City, a learning center with emergency medical training courses. Stewart’s had students in their late teens and early 20’s tell him they wished they’d known this information sooner for prior accidents in their lives.  

“We wanted to find a way that we could actually get to younger kids and teach them some of these skills so that should something happen, whether it’s babysitting or whether it’s that camping trip or whatever, they at least have that grain of knowledge to feed off of,” he said. 

The course, developed by Primary Children’s Hospital, covers the basics: proper way to administer the Heimlich or CPR, knowing who to call for different situations, minor cuts and burns versus major cuts and burns, seizures, power outages, poisonings, broken bones, head traumas and nose bleeds. 

“It seems inevitable that every kid will get a nose bleed,” Stewart said, adding they tailored the course to common issues paramedics often see. 

Stewart went over what to include in a babysitter bag (flashlight, games, cell phone, first aid kit, etc.) or a babysitter 101 card (numbers for poison control and their parents, etc.). He also covered scenarios such as if a child swallows aspirin, can’t catch its breath or hits its head. 

As an EMS provider, Stewart said, what helps them when arriving at a scene is the babysitter knowing the child’s medical history. 

“One of the biggest takeaways we can give the kids is what your options are,” he said. “You're not alone. What's mom's number, dad's number, what's grandma's number? What are the safe places in the home, what are the bad places to avoid, what are the medical history, medications, allergies?”

For Annice Osmond and her two children attending the class, 11-year-old Cole and 10-year-old Molly, they learned more about the Heimlich maneuver and how to do CPR. Osmond said the class covered situations like what to do in a power outage that she hadn’t thought of before. 

“It’s much better for them to have this knowledge,” she said. “Not just for babysitting, but even for when they’re at school.” 

The class was free and filled up quick, with many waitlisted. Stewart hopes to do the class on a quarterly basis with larger class sizes. 

With three younger siblings of his own, Stewart did his share of babysitting growing up. He now has three daughters of his own. His oldest, 12-year-old Ashlynn Pavlov, started babysitting her younger siblings. It’s why he wanted her to take the class. 

Ashlynn said she normally would “start freaking out” if her sister would choke, but now feels more confident. She also learned about only using two fingers when doing CPR on infants. 

“I learned more about burns and what to do because I didn't know how to tell if it was minor or not,” she said. “That could have gotten someone seriously hurt if I hadn't known that.”

Watch WVC Fire Facebook to see when the next babysitting 101 class is scheduled.