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June 20, 2011 - Heather Ziegler
It was a tough week for parents and babysitters last week as two children died in separate incidents in the Ohio Valley, apparently while in the care of young babysitters. One infant died at home while a toddler perished in a fire. While I do not know the exact circumstances surrounding each child's death, these are horrible tragedies. Today's economy often forces some parents to count on not-so-reliable babysitting. I don't know what the age limit should be or if there are laws governing how old a sitter should be, but common sense should dictate. When I think about the responsibility I had babysitting when I was 12 or 13, it scares me in today's terms. However, I often babysat in my parents' neighborhood where my parents or siblings were close by if I needed help. In one iinstance, I called my brothers when I thought a prowler was trying to get into one of the houses where I was babysitting. They showed up within minutes, wielding baseball bats and golf clubs. No one bothered me the rest of the night. It didn't help that those awful "babysitter" movies were on the big screen back then. Made us all afraid of the dark or to answer the phone when watching kids at night! Today, there are classes offered by local hospitals and other organizations that teach young people how to be good, responsible babysitters. Training includes basic first aid, response to fires and accidents, stranger issues, and much more. It would be worth it for parents to ask if their sitters have had any training -- not just experience -- before employing them as babysitters.
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