By Rose L. Thayer
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD — One by one, the teens walked up to the toddler-sized medical dummy and asked permission to approach the unconscious child.
Once granted, the teen performed CPR, counting 30 compressions aloud before putting an ear to the dummy’s mouth to check for breath.
After each successful performance, the teens of the Child, Youth and School Services baby-sitting class applauded each other.
“I took the class just because if anything ever happened, I would know CPR,” said Aaron Allen Tuesday. Allen, 12, took the class so he could feel confident when home with his 3-year-old twin brothers.
“Just in case they choke, I could do CPR and get it out.”
Held at the High Chaparral Youth Center, the two-day class teaches teens, seventh grade and older, how to baby-sit. The trainers emphasize how to entertain young children appropriately, how to care for bumps and bruises and games to play together. The teens also are certified in CPR for one year.
“They are eager to learn the techniques of baby-sitting, CPR and first aid,” said Isis Davila, a training specialist for the hourly child care program, who teaches the baby-sitting class. “It gives them the opportunity to do hands-on practice.”
Koy Grant, a Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation partnership specialist, said the class is very popular and often has a waiting list — especially in the summer.
Certification is required to baby-sit at Fort Hood, and Grant said knowing the teen is trained in baby-sitting, can put parents at ease.
“There’s so much risk involved in having a young person watching your child,” said Grant. “At least (the teens) are able to recognize when they might be in a hazardous situation.”
Eulice White, a training specialist with Kouma Child Development Center, teaches alongside Davila, and said the teens take the lessons seriously.
“If something happens while they are caring for a child, they know exactly what to do,” she said. “Normally they would be afraid, but they have techniques to use.”
Once they complete the class, teens are given a certificate and are put on a list with Fort Hood’s Parent Central Services, so parents in need of a sitter can call and know the teen they are hiring is certified.
Because the class is for military dependents, time is dedicated to talking about deployments and what teens can do with their new skills to help their parents get through it.
“Being a dependent, they’ve been through a lot,” said White.
Carson Gilbert, 13, took the class to be able to help her mom out with her younger brother and sister. Before taking the class, she said, “if they collapsed, the only thing I would know to do is call 911.”
Overall, she said she will be able to use information from the class instantly.
“The class was informational,” she said. “It’s got a wide variety of information you are going to use no matter how long you baby-sit.”
Teens interested in taking the baby-sitting class offered by Child, Youth and School Services can go to www.hoodmwr.com/edge.htm. Fort Hood parents seeking a certified teen baby sitter should call Parent Central Services at (254) 287-8029.