Kimberly Foster readily admits she wouldn’t be where she is today if not for Safe Sitter®. A Safe Sitter® Instructor at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas since 2010, Kimberly took the class when she was 13 at the same hospital where she now works as a registered nurse. “It was a difficult time in my life,” Kimberly said, adding her mother discovered the hospital offered Safe Sitter® classes when Kimberly’s father was recovering from open heart surgery.
“My mother had me take the class to help pass the time while my father was recovering from surgery because she knew how much I loved kids and wanted to be a babysitter throughout high school. It was just a way for me to keep entertained but it was a great lesson for me to learn,” Kimberly said.
Sadly, just one week after taking Safe Sitter®, Kimberly’s father died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolus. Even at her young age, her experience with a Safe Sitter® class coupled with the compassion shown to her father by the hospital’s nurses helped Kimberly make a decision about her life. She would go into the nursing field.
A registered nurse for the past several years, Kimberly said, “I don’t think I would be where I am if it were not for my experiences in my early teenage years. I can’t thank Safe Sitter® enough for providing an education to kids at this stage of life.”
Safe Sitter’s influence on Kimberly then was two-fold: it inspired her future career choice and it made her a better caretaker to children through all of her teen babysitting jobs. In fact, she said the greatest lesson she took away from class was to stay with and entertain the children she was caring for and not leave them to entertain themselves like her babysitters used to do.
“Parents used to praise me for how active I was with their children and their children begged for me to babysit again,” Kimberly said. “It made me proud to know that I did a good job for these kiddos!” She used the skills she’d been taught quite often while babysitting but says, “I never had to use the CPR or breathing techniques—thank goodness!—but knowing them helped me out greatly.”
Having learned first hand as a young teen just how influential a Safe Sitter® class can be, Kimberly was inspired to become a Safe Sitter® Instructor. “My favorite part is getting the knowledge out to the younger generation about how to handle a stressful situation when it calls for it. It’s a classroom setting that’s a fun environment for the kids, and they learn a lot in a short amount of time, but it’s still fun,” Kimberly said.
After teaching a class, she said several kids will approach her outside the classroom and comment on how the class worked for them, especially when handling behavioral issues with a child. Luckily, none of her students have had to use choking rescue or CPR but she’s grateful that she’s the one who taught them how to use it should the need arise.
And although her own children are still too young to take Safe Sitter®, they will definitely be graduates of the program one day. “They probably will not have the option to take it…They will!” said Kimberly.