Instructor excited to teach a class of students.

How the Safe Sitter® Curriculum Works for Family and Consumer Science Teachers

Founded in 1980 by Patricia A. Keener, M.D., Safe Sitter, Inc. is a national nonprofit organization that prepares youth with the skills they need to be safe while home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting through a network of nearly 3000 Instructors in all 50 states. The Safe Sitter® curriculum is modular in design and can be taught in one day or over the course of several weeks. The content introduces students to child development, child care, injury prevention, and first aid, as well as giving students foundational employment skills.

Maintaining a safe environment is the foundation for personal care as well as caring for others. In the Safety Skills portion of the class, students learn to always practice safe habits when indoors, outdoors, online, and with others.  Important concepts are reinforced in an interactive game where students are given common household emergencies and must decide what to do in each situation, referencing their Student Handbook as a guide.

Safe Sitter® programs are designed with a nurturing approach to child care. In addition to learning to prevent challenging behavior before it happens, students also learn developmentally appropriate behavior management skills. Students learn six behavior management techniques, as well as a system to decide how common behaviors should be handled. Decision-making and problem-solving skills are reinforced in a guided discussion where students are presented with common behavior scenarios and asked to utilize their Behavior Aid Chart to decide how the situation should be handled.

Courses also include instruction on child development, child care duties, and techniques for entertaining children of all ages. Students learn the four major age groups of early childhood: infants (under 1 year), toddlers (1 to 2 years old), preschoolers (3 to 5 years old), and school age children (6 to 10 years old). Students study various aspects of the physical, social, and emotional development of children in each stage.

Safe Sitter® was created because a child died from a choking incident while in the care of an adult babysitter. Therefore, all students learn how to avoid common choking hazards such as smooth round foods, hard foods, and small objects that could potentially block a child’s airway. Students also learn the proper technique for choking rescue for both infants and children. 

Safety and sanitation habits are reinforced in the child care module. Students learn about preparing snacks/meals, diaper changing, and assisting older children with toileting. Students practice diaper changing with soft-bodied dolls and learn proper diaper disposal and hand-washing techniques.

Preventing injuries before they happen is the key to keeping children from placing themselves at risk for injury or even death. Through a guided discussion, students learn when and where injuries are likely to happen as well as safety hazards that are dangerous for children of all ages. Like the behavior management module, injury management is also taught through a triage system: students learn injuries they can attend to on their own, serious injuries that require the help of a back-up adult, and injuries that are a threat-to-life and require the student to call 9-1-1. Various role-plays help students analyze and synthesize the information they have learned about injury prevention and management, helping them to build critical thinking skills.

The life and business skills portion of the class teaches the three keys to success for keeping a job: being prepared, being responsible, and being considerate. Students learn how to screen potential jobs for their safety, skills and aptitude, and availability. In addition, students practice discussing their fees with potential employers, refusing or cancelling a job, and gathering the information they need as part of an orientation.

Finally, students learn soft skills valued by all employers, including interpersonal and communication skills.  Students rehearse these skills in a role-play where they practice meeting an employer with a proper handshake, appropriate eye contact, and a clear verbal introduction.

Every student that completes the Safe Sitter® program receives a completion card showing they successfully completed the course. View the modular programming overview to learn more about the learning objectives and teaching strategies for the Safe Sitter® curriculum.

It’s easy and affordable to start incorporating Safe Sitter® curriculum into your classroom. Check out our free lesson plans and worksheets or complete our online application to become a Safe Sitter® Instructor.