Parents: Red Cross Is for You

Babysitting
A snapshot of how the Red Cross works for parents, including kid-focused preparedness, babysitter training and first aid and CPR courses.

Every parent faces unknown and possibly hazardous situations daily, and even the best parents could use a little help. That’s why the American Red Cross maintains a host of resources and opportunities to help keep your family safe and ready. Whether it’s confidence in a babysitter’s first aid skills or being prepared for an emergency or major disaster, the Red Cross has parents covered.

PREPAREDNESS WITH KIDS Disasters often strike quickly and without warning. They are frightening for adults, and can be traumatic for children, especially if they don't know what to do.

Creating a survival kit is an important step to prepare your family and help your children understand what to expect in an emergency situation. Even if it’s just a power outage, it’s helpful to have the things your family needs to stay safe and healthy in a scary situation.

In addition to basic items such as water, food, medical supplies, technology and other survival kit needs, include items for the children in your family, such as:

  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food and diapers)
  • Games and activities
  • A printed copy of the Red Cross Disney Disaster Preparedness Activity Book to help learn more about preparing and staying safe
  • CPR/FIRST AID PEDIATRICS CLASSES Local Red Cross chapters offer First Aid/CPR/AED courses to train parents for a cardiac, breathing or first aid emergency. Read more about your options and check local listings to find pediatric options. Printable guides are also available for a quick reference.

    As Red Cross stories show, Red Cross training can be a life-saving skill for the unexpected emergency:

  • One mom found herself in a scary situation: “In February 2001, my son, Michael and I were returning home from a day in San Francisco where we had been celebrating his 3rd birthday. My son, safely strapped in his car seat in the back seat, asked for his lunch leftovers, which I handed back. A couple of minutes later, I realized he was choking on a grape that was in the lunch. I pulled over on the edge of the freeway and quickly took him from the car seat. I tried, unsuccessful at first, to dislodge the grape using the techniques I had been taught in Red Cross First Aid classes. After a few more tries, and a harrowing couple of minutes while freeway traffic whizzed past us, the grape dislodged and he began to breathe again. I always thought that if my child choked, there would quickly be help available, but that day on the freeway, it was just me and the training I had received from a Red Cross class. I'll forever be grateful for the knowledge I gained in those classes.”
  • Grandparents can also step in for an emergency: “I became a Red Cross CPR/First Aid Trainer to help out the private school I work at in certification for all teachers and support staff. Little did I know after becoming a trainer when my grandson was 7-days-old he stopped breathing. My daughter yelled from her room, ‘he's not breathing’. I ran to her room and [brought] him back to life. He spent the next seven days in the hospital. But my grandson, Ronnie, is now 4-years-old and the light of my life. Taking the class to help others turned out to be the lifesaver of my family.”
  • BABYSITTER AND CAREGIVER TRAINING When you step out for date night, a babysitter usually steps in to care for your kids. To ensure your babysitter is prepared and proficient to handle whatever may occur, you can point them to Red Cross courses dedicated to babysitting training. Online and in-person courses could teach your babysitter how to:

  • Respond to emergencies with basic first aid, pediatric CPR and more
  • Make good decisions under pressure
  • Communicate effectively with parents
  • Recognize safety and hygiene issues
  • Manage young children
  • Feed, diaper and care for infants
  • At the end of April, the Red Cross introduced a new Advanced Child Care Training course for people 16 years and older, who might be looking to become nannies, sought-after babysitters or who might be caring for kids for the first time. The course is also a good option for grandparents and other relatives who might want a child care refresher before watching young children.

    Participants will learn the most common child care routines and behavior along with safety inside and outside of the house. The course also includes Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED training and certification. It combines in-person training and skills testing with self-paced online learning, using advanced simulation learning to give the course-taker an immersive and engaging learning experience. This technology simulates child care and emergency situations so course takers can practice techniques and critical thinking skills.

    Review the Red Cross Babysitting and Advanced Child Care Training pages online for more details and course options. Be sure to ask if your sitter is Red Cross-trained, or your kids may wind up asking you themselves.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.