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Schneider Children’s Hospital offers how-to on baby-sitting

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The do’s and don’ts of baby-sitting took center stage at a Great Neck high school last week to promote a baby-sitting program conducted by Schneider Children’s Hospital.

The honors repertory theater class at Great Neck North High School put together the production, which included how a bad and good baby-sitter reacts to different scenarios.

“We’ve had a wonderful time and it’s been a great opportunity,” said Great Neck North High School drama teacher Jonathan Gellert.

Debbie Riccardi, director of community outreach at Schneider, said the New Hyde Park hospital conducts a variety of injury prevention programs, including its kidwatcher program, which teaches teens how to be responsible baby-sitters.

“Those skills can be gotten through the program,” Riccardi said.

The program is offered to the community and is sponsored by Kohl’s department stores. Anyone between 11 and 16 years old can go to Schneider to take part in the four-hour program conducted by pediatric nurses, which teaches first aid, baby care and child safety.

“We know baby-sitting is a great way for teenagers to make money,” Riccardi said. “It also comes with an adult responsibility.”

One of the scenarios enacted by the students involved the baby-sitter meeting the child’s parents the first time.

In one scenario, the irresponsible baby-sitter ignored the parents’ instructions while the responsible baby-sitter asked when would be a good bedtime for the child, where the formula was and where the emergency contact numbers were located.

“First rule of baby-sitting: Always take the emergency numbers,” one of the characters said.

When the baby cried, the two characters handled the situation differently.

Brittany, played by sophomore Julia Leby, did not take steps to control the baby’s crying.

“What do you want? You need to be quiet,” she said.

Meanwhile Vincent, the responsible baby-sitter played by Kevin Frankel, knew to give the baby its formula and its favorite toy to stop the crying.

While the cast performed for its fellow students, the actors said the production was both a learning and teaching experience.

“I’ve never baby-sat before, so I learned what questions to ask,” Frankel said. “Basic baby-sitter techniques, if you will.”

“It was a whole learning experience,” said classmate Laura Goldring, a 15-year-old sophomore.

“I think a lot of us have never had a baby-sitting job before,” Leby said. “I learned a lot. We definitely learned no parties while baby-sitting.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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