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Course trains youngsters in good baby-sitting

Former school board member is teacher

Former school board member is teacher

February 01, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

All 15 students in Jan Cirincione's baby sitter's training course had their own baby doll to practice on. But only 12-year-old Rebecca Navarro was cradling hers like it was real.

"That is probably because she has a 2-month-old baby sister at home," said Rebecca's mom, Sherry Schlomer, who was contacted by telephone.

Recently, Rebecca and her fellow baby sitters were availing themselves of a course sponsored by the American Red Cross in Washington County and taught by Cirincione for the past four or five years.

"They needed someone to teach the baby sitters' training class, and I have a background in child development," said Cirincione, a part-time paid staff member at the Red Cross.

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The course - which is taught about every other month - costs $40, although any young person unable to afford that fee can pay just $5 if eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school, she said.

"That is available because of a grant from the Community Foundation of Washington County," Cirincione said.

Her textbook is the American Red Cross 160-page "Babysitter's Training Handbook." The boys and girls in the class each followed the handbook through the course.

Stings and bites were part of the session. Rebecca raised her hand and said baby sitters need to keep an eye out for bees and other insects.

"And if the child is bitten, you must watch out for rashes and welts," then react appropriately, Rebecca said.

Another lesson had to do with food, which the baby sitter must make sure is appropriate for the age of the child.

"If hot dogs are left for the child's lunch, make sure they are cut in small pieces," Cirincione said.

Throughout the course, Cirincione added her own experiences as the mother of three on how to deal with hurt children. "If a child falls, it helps to check them from the feet up and they won't get so scared," she said.

Videotapes showed scenarios that might come up while baby-sitting, such as not letting strangers in the house or being distracted by friends while baby-sitting.

"What if you promised to baby-sit three weeks in advance and two weeks later, you get the chance to go to an amusement park? What do you do?" Cirincione asked.

Most of the baby sitters-in-training said they would call to see if other arrangements could be made but if not, they would honor the obligation.

When the all-day class ended, each participant earned a wallet-sized certificate and a Red Cross backpack.

Cirincione, a graduate of the State University of New York in Cortland, earned her master's degree in human development and child studies from the University of Maryland.

She served two four-year terms on the Washington County Board of Education.

Cirincione also teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.

"I really enjoy these classes - it's a great organization and a great staff here."

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