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Red Cross Babysitting Course Can Help Save Lives

Learning lifesaving skills isn’t just for adults—in fact, one 11-year-old used information learned in a Red Cross babysitter’s training course to address a potentially dangerous situation.

Estee Dechtman had just completed the first half of a Red Cross babysitter’s training class one day during the summer. During the course, instructors had their teen and pre-teen students memorize the local poison control number, in addition to numerous other skills that come in handy when supervising young children.

That evening, Estee was at home playing with her two younger brothers and a friend, who had asthma medication in his bag. At some point, her 2-1/2-year-old brother Isaac got into the bag—and into the asthma medication.

“My brother’s friend went to take his medication, and when he opened his medication none were there—so that was when we got a little nervous,” Estee explained. “We scanned everything…luckily we found one on the ground and asked my brother if he ate it, and he said yeah.”

Having learned that ingesting medications can be harmful, Estee immediately jumped into action. She notified their father, Evan Dechtman, of the situation and recited the local poison control number from memory.

“I was really surprised she knew the number, and it was great because I was ready to pull up the website and look for it, but I didn’t need to because she already knew it by heart,” Dechtman said. “Estee took charge of the situation and knew what to do. It was really good; it was perfect timing that she was in class that day.”

They told poison control what the medication was and how much her little brother had ingested and, fortunately for little Isaac, the quantity he had ingested was not harmful enough to need medical care. However, had it been some other substance, Isaac’s life could have been at risk.

Estee and her father credit her recent Red Cross training with providing her with the knowledge and the confidence to act quickly and correctly in what could have been a life-threatening situation.

“My babysitting skills definitely came in handy because I wouldn’t have known poison control’s number otherwise and it might have been too late by the time we figured it out,” Estee said.

Designed for 11- to 15-year-olds, the Red Cross babysitter’s training course covers six primary areas: childhood development; basic child care techniques; caring for first aid emergencies; safety issues; leadership skills; and the business of babysitting.

Contact your local Red Cross chapter or visit to find out about Babysitter's Training offerings.