After Whitney Donley took Safe Sitter® at the Healthy Living Institute at UMC in Las Vegas, she spoke about it responsibly that evening with her two younger sisters, Katie, 10, and Heidi, 8. Because she’d taken the class so seriously, her mother, Julie, knew she was prepared to take care of herself and her sisters while she was out. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Two days later, while Julie was at work, Heidi decided she wanted to heat up a microwaveable chow mein dish. Because it was an unfamiliar dish to Heidi, Katie told her not to cook it but to wait until their mother got home. However, Heidi was hungry, and she made up her mind that she wanted it. She popped it in the microwave and set it to cook for five minutes.
However, there was a problem. Heidi had removed the dish’s outer wrapping, but she didn’t realize there were seasoning packets to take out and water to add. Soon, smoke began to fill the kitchen and family room. Katie noticed the package was red, like embers, and she stopped the microwave. The two girls went upstairs to get Whitney because they knew she’d taken Safe Sitter® and would know what to do. She did. Whitney said her first thought was, “Evacuate. Call 9-1-1.” And she was right. She got herself and her sisters out of the house where they sat outside and waited for help to arrive.
When Julie arrived home, she immediately smelled smoke. She found the girls in the yard, hugged them, and told them how much she loved them. Whitney had kept everything under control. “She was sitting with her Safe Sitter® handbook beside her,” Julie said. “She said she had used all the behavior management strategies on Heidi, who does not always think she needs to listen to her sisters. I was able to support Whitney’s decisions and talk to Heidi about how her sisters are there to help keep her safe.”
The only negative effects from the scary incident were a lingering smell of smoke and the need for a new microwave. “Everyone is alive and well,” Julie said. “Thank you for your wonderful class. The girls were able to evacuate and stay safe. Whitney also applied her new knowledge of how to manage behaviors. I am so proud of her.”
*Permission to use full names and photo given by their parents.