Safety First, Fun Second

We love ‘em but we all know: teens will be teens, and that means moods that can change on a dime. Fortunately, we often hear from Instructors that teens who give up treasured afterschool or weekend time for a Safe Sitter® class truly leave happier than when they arrived.

“The kids come in all grumpy but they all leave with a smile,” said Site Coordinator and Instructor Arlene Carlsen. “What inspires me is at the end of class when they hug me and thank me.”

Carlsen opened her AHA training center, Space Coast Life Saverz, in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida in 2007 after leaving Health First in nearby Melbourne, where she first taught Safe Sitter®. In 2013, she became a teaching site and immediately bought 105 Student Handbooks. Her four-person staff expected to be busy—and with good reason!

“We teach 5,000 people a year,” Arlene said. She and her staff taught seven Safe Sitter® classes in 2014. “Business is booming all around so we’ll teach more classes in the summer when kids are off school.” Arlene believes part of the Safe Sitter® appeal for parents is getting so much for a relatively low cost. Parents pay $65 for the one-day class which includes lunch for each student, a Safe Sitter® pencil, pad, patch, completion card and, of course, a quality life and safety education.

Arlene also prides herself on providing students with another fun dimension to the already hands-on, highly-interactive Safe Sitter® experience. “We have a lot of equipment that others don’t,” she said, including CPR manikins with lights that illuminate when compressions are done correctly. “The kids love to see if they can get the two green lights to light up!”

Arlene obviously likes to add elements of fun to her safety education business. Her parents own a printing shop so she can easily have posters and banners printed with Safe Sitter® colors. “When we do safety classes, people see those when they come in so it’s great for advertising,” said Arlene, who also advertises through the local recreation department and Facebook. A local publication, The Parenting Magazine, also lists education classes for free.

Of course, saving lives is serious business, and that reality is never lost on a safety educator like Arlene. “Safety educators have to have passion,” she said. “I have a passion for what we do and I make sure the kids enjoy themselves but I help them realize how serious Safe Sitter® training is.”

Safe Sitter

Founded in 1980, Safe Sitter® is the only national nonprofit training program exclusively devoted to preparing young teens in grades 6-8 to be safe in unsupervised settings, whether home alone, sibling sitting or babysitting.