Pre-teen Sitters Handle Some Emergencies

HERSHEY, Pa., Oct. 5 (UPI) — Ninety-eight percent of 11- to 13-year-old babysitters know what to do in the event of an intruder, U.S. researcher say.

Dr. Nicole Hackman of Pennsylvania State Hershey Children’s Hospital says their survey indicates 96 percent of the young babysitters knew whom to contact if a child was sick or injured and 85 percent knew what to do if a child was poisoned. However, 40 percent say they had left children unattended while babysitting and 20 percent opened the door to strangers.


Hackman and colleagues surveyed 727 pre-teens who have cared for a younger infant or child as a babysitter. Of these, 51 percent had taken a first-aid training class; 47 percent had taken a class in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and 19 percent took the American Red Cross Safe Sitter or other babysitter classes.

The researchers report 92 percent of pre-teen babysitters were familiar with the location of first-aid supplies and 64 percent with the location of a fire extinguisher. Ten percent of pre-teen babysitters had a personal experience with an emergency requiring a 911 telephone call — 10 because a child sustained injuries from a fall, eight due to house fire, six because a child had profuse bleeding from a laceration and six for significant head trauma.

“By identifying the unsafe behaviors, we have the opportunity to design specific educational programs to prepare pre-teen babysitters to safely respond to common emergency situations,” study lead author Hackman says in a statement.

The findings were presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco.

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