Safety Tips

Can you pant like a puppy for me? Babysitting class

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“Can you pant like a puppy for me?

When I teach my Babysitting Class  to youth ages 11+, I ask them, “Have you ever been home AND your parents were home and you STILL got hurt?”

Of course, they all say “yes” and begin to recount the varying things they experienced when three or five or seven, whatever age.    I share with them MY story of cutting my knee open when I fell in first grade on a metal door mat outside the elementary school.   Needing stitches, my mom brought me to the doctor.   I share with my young babysitting class students that I remember crying because it hurt, because I was scared, because blood is really scary – and THEN the nurse got out a NEEDLE!   I was crying when she kindly asked, “Can you pant like a puppy for me?”

I remember being confused why she wanted me to do such a thing.    But, I promptly complied and sat there, on the gurney, panting softly – trying to be a puppy.

babysitting class

Pant like a Puppy in babysitting class

Babysitting class – great tip

Of course, you get the point…  The gentle distraction got me busy with a task so that my mind focused on the task instead of the mental whirling vortex of pain/fear/blood.


babysitting class tips

It hurts! I’m scared!

I have taught adult CPR, First Aid and the Babysitter class for over 15 years.   The babysitting class ( covers many, many excellent topics – but if an injury occurs, regardless that the young babysitters are always focusing on safety while babysitting, it is accompanied by the fear the child will feel if injured.   To kindly reassure and distract the child is a way to calm the tears and calm the fears.   I urge my babysitting class students to distract with the question, “Can you pant like a puppy for me?” or perhaps, “What IS your middle name, Kelly?” or perhaps, “How old IS your dog, anyway, Stevie?”

It is a good reminder to my babysitting class students that just as THEY got hurt even though their loving parents were home at the time, so, too, an injury can still occur while they are babysitting.    I urge students,  through the 4+ hour babysitting class, to follow two very important safety rules:

1) Prevent injuries by scanning each room for possible dangers and

2) Stay in the same room with the children you’re babysitting.

With those two safety mandates, babysitters have safety on their side!

As a Training Center for the American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI), I enjoy teaching this excellent class – their curriculum is strong and manageable for youth age 11+.

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Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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Arvada clerk reaches baby as mom collapses

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Alert clerk reaches baby as the mother collapses

It’s always about Recognizing an Emergency.   Recognizing an Emergency is the first step, the bottom line, the moment that sets helping and first aid in motion.   Because this clerk reaches baby in time, is alert, sees that there is an urgency, a possible emergency, she truly is a “first responder“!

A clerk in a Arvada, CO store noticed that a mother holding her baby was beginning to look unwell, to look glazed.    Alert, kind and recognizing an emergency, the clerk reached to hold the baby even as the mother, indeed, collapsed.

This is a beautiful story of a woman offering help, another woman receiving help – as well as a baby!   The clerk took action and kept the baby from possibly being injured when it appeared something was wrong with the mother.    Without being pulled from the mother’s arms, the baby could have fallen to the floor, could have been injured, could have suffered a head injury – any number of things.


clerk reaches baby

Clerk reaches baby in time!

Recognize an Emergency – Clerk reaches baby

The Denver Post reported on  this incident – read the article.   Though it is a short article, that does not diminish how important this moment actually was.    This moment was about the BIG THING – to Recognize an Emergency.    Action can then follow…

When alert people recognize an emergency, the system can commence for care.    911 can be called.   First aid can be commenced.    Our excellent EMS (Emergency Medical Services) system kicks into gear – 911 call to Dispatch who relays everything to Responders – they’re on the way.

It is wonderful that there is even VIDEO of this experience!    The clerk is alert, takes action – and immediately calls out for help, calls 911 –  just as it should be.

In the 15 years of teaching CPR, Babysitting CPR (youth 11+), First Aid, the first part of the training is focused on the important element of Recognizing an Emergency.   YOU can be the one who sees the problem and gets help on the way.   While you may call for help for anyone in the community, it is still true that you are most likely to give care – and call for help – for someone you love, someone you spend a lot of your time with – family and friends!

Every story about people helping others, helping if someone is choking, is unwell, loses consciousness, is a beautiful thing.   It inspires trainers like myself to, yes, keep training – and to urge everyone to GET trained!     Stay safe.

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Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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Off With Their Shoes – detox your home

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Off With Their Shoes!    Some Easy Ways to Detox Your Home

Studies have shown an amazing amount of dreadful bacteria and pollutants are carried into your home on your shoes.   The safest thing to do for a healthy home is to have everyone leave shoes at the door.   The goal is to detox your home – here are some easy ideas for you.

detox your home

Leave shoes at the door

Off With Their Shoes!

It won’t take long for you to embed this new habit, if your family is not already doing it.   All it takes is a family discussion, agreement that everyone will comply – and then a creative or fun way to leave the shoes near the door!

detox your home

Cool ideas to keep shoes out of the way

It will be well worth committing to this new habit.    Shoes track in pesticides – yikes!    Also, lead dust, pollutants, road sealant, and more.    To really gross you out, think about unwittingly walking on someone’s spit on the sidewalk or animal droppings from the grass – and then coming in the house!    Oh, nooooooo…

Of course, we call can spend time on the floor, but NOBODY spends more time on the floor than babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.    You don’t want that stuff on their hands and faces!

Detox Your House in some more ways….

Crack a Window

Indoor air can be five times as polluted as outdoor air, so open the windows whenever the weather—and your AC or heating budget—permit.

detox your home

Crack a window a bit

Dump the Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets coat clothes with chemicals—which have been linked to the development of asthma—and acetone, also found in nail polish remover. Plus, your towels will be more absorbent without that dreadful chemical covering.

Dust your Home Differently

Instead of sprays (which add to your chemical load) or feathers (which just kick up more dust), use dry, unscented microfiber cloths, which attract dirty particles instead of scattering them.

With each small choice, each small step, you can bring your home – and your family – into a healthier place.   It’s well worth it!

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Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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Please give yourself CPR – get training, that is…

By | ARE you ready to help?, Blog, Choking help, EasyCPR Adult class at Home, Parenting Advice, Safety Tips, Yay - Saved a Life! | No Comments

Yes, give yourself CPR – get training

I’ve been teaching CPR for 15 years and I have some YES or NO questions for you:

  • When someone is coughing and choking, do you hit them on the back?

Answer:   No, medical directors state that it is counterproductive.    (You’re right – we used to train it, but it’s changed)


  • If a 3 year old is choking, do you stand them on a chair so you can perform the abdominal thrust?

Answer: No, they could fall and be injured.   You kneel down behind them for the thrust.


  • If someone insists they are OK and insists that you DO NOT call 911, do you comply and not call?

Answer:   You do not need permission to call 911 (only permission to touch someone’s body to give care).   Call !


  • If an elderly person is coughing and coughing, is alarmed to be choking, do you give them the abdominal thrust?

Answer:   No.   If they are coughing, the body is trying to expel it.   You only take action when they are utterly silent; no air is getting in or out; the body isn’t doing it.


  • If someone is woozy and not feeling well, do you encourage them to walk slowly and breathe deeply?

Answer:   No. Encourage them to lie down – they may lose consciousness and FALL down.   Then there are very likely added injuries.


  • If a very pregnant woman is choking, do you do nothing because the abdominal thrust will injure the baby inside her?

Answer:   There is a special choking technique to use for people in wheelchairs and pregnant women because you can’t thrust on their abdomen.

CPR – get training

Take just a moment and imagine three people you love dearly.    Do you see the three faces of those loved ones?

Would you give two hours of time to save their life?   Yes?   That’s what a  CPR/choking skills class takes – two hours.   For such a beautiful reason.

Statistics show that you are most likely to help someone you love who is choking, or who is unconscious and not breathing, or who is experiencing an altered state of consciousness.

Perhaps you know that an altered state of consciousness, confusion, low responsiveness to your questions could mean an allergic reaction, or possibly a diabetic emergency, or maybe a stroke.   Can you tell?

You don’t need to know what is the problem – you only need to do one thing, now.   You have Recognized An Emergency – so you call 911.     So much of helping loved ones is to be alert and SEE that something is wrong.

calling 911

Call 911 – Reach out for help

911 Dispatchers are there for you!

Do you envision 911 happens like this?   Step 1: You call 911   Step 2: You hear sirens as the truck arrives

Nope, this is what happens…

Step 1: You call 911   Step 2: Dispatch talks to you and helps you   Step 3:  You give care in that vital Window of Time  Step 4: You hear sirens as the truck arrives

Dispatch is amazing.   They are there for you –  to help you stay calm if you are very frightened.   They focus in on the questions to ask about the person in trouble.    That information helps you take action – that information helps them convey to the en route response team what they need to know.

What if they say to you, “Do you know how to give CPR compressions?”


What if you say, “No, no I don’t…”

You don’t want that feeling!    Scared.  Helpless.

I (and all health care agencies) want you to be able to say, “Yes, yes, I do!

You’re Smart.   For 2016, you are going to do it, right?  CPR – get training!

For 15 years, I have taught a youth (age 11+) Babysitting Safety/CPR class.   We work with dolls to diaper and burp, first aid, spending quality time, the choking skill and, yes, full CPR training.    I tell my young students as we begin class that I commend them for taking the 4 hour course to get trained before they babysit.   Many parents – and maybe the parents they will babysit for – are not trained.   Yes, the parents love their little precious children – but they STILL don’t get trained!    As babysitters, I tell them they may be more able to save a young life than those parents are!


I can DO it!

If someone gets trained, there is a presence of confidence and security that I believe is priceless.   That person, in their heart and mind, has a background sense of being empowered to respond, to be able to save a life.

I consider it similar to knowing how to change a tire on your vehicle, as a possible example.   You may never have to change a tire but someone taught you and there is a quiet, silent confidence in the back of your mind of “I know what to do if I need to change a tire!”.   Nice feeling, that confidence that you are empowered to act.

Changing a tire?   Small potatoes.

Saving a loved one’s life?   Priceless.


Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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Holiday Pet Safety Tips

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Usually I blog about human safety since, for 15 years, I’ve been an Instructor of CPR, youth Babysitting CPR classes, and First Aid.    But, this Holiday Season, it’s very timely to renew a few tips about your PETS and keeping them safe.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips – Prevention is always the best!

At this time of year, there are more things for your pet to chew on, explore and play with.    Yikes.    The Health and Safety Institute has offered a recent blog with great tips from pet professionals.

The new presence in the living room of extension cords can be very dangerous – your animal might bite down on the cord and suffer a huge electrical jolt.   They might eat any number of bad things – treats left out, poison holly/ivy plants, stagnant water in the tree base if you have a natural holiday tree – and more.


New Things to Chew at the Holiday Season!

The Health and Safety Institute borrowed great advice from the ASPCA about Holiday Pet Safety Tips, as well as Veterinarian advice from a college of veterinary medicine.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips – Holiday Stress for Pets as well as Humans

This time of year is full of music, parties, banquets, visiting relatives, loud noises, loud laughter – all the FUN STUFF.   But that fun stuff, for you, may not be at all fun for your pet.    Check out these stress-free tips for your pet.

Personally, I’ve experienced being present in a home when the cat bit down on an electrical cord from under the Christmas tree.    It was a frightening and abrupt thrashing under the tree, the poor cat being bludgeoned with electricity.    The cat survived but was clearly suffering a disability, ever after.

I recently visited a home where the dog was aggressive to visitors, barking often, barking loudly.  I wondered if this season for that family would remain a safe one…

I also recently witnessed a gathering where two owners had brought their dogs with them – and were enjoying conversation with each other – when suddenly the dogs exploded into aggression with each other.   It was sudden and terrifying and one dog was injured.    Will people be bringing their pets to other homes, other sites, for the holidays?

Of course the adage applies – Better Safe Than Sorry.

Have a lovely and safe Holiday SeasonYou AND your pets!


Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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Big Bad Cough – oh, dear…

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Big BAD Cough

So… it’s the flu season?

So, we focus on the flu, right?

Well… wait… let’s focus on something that’s pretty serious – and even fatal for infants.

Whooping Cough.

I hope you will watch the great video about the need to get vaccinated for whooping cough so you aren’t a CARRIER to little kids, yourself.


Big BAD Cough information

A very nice, informative video has been created by the Help Prevent Disease website people to give people more information about Whooping Cough.    The video shows that a loving grandmother, holding an infant with love, might still be the person who conveys the Whooping Cough virus.    And there’s a remedy!   Vaccination.

Of course, this video has focused on grandparents as a way to spread the message – the POINT is that every one of us in the society can be careful about spreading disease to others.    They are playing on the wolf, from Little Red Riding Hood, when she says “grandmother, you like different”.   You know the story…   They’re trying to find a creative way to insert that the presence of a scary virus/disease can be “hidden”.  Even a loving grandparent could transmit.   “Big Bad Cough” tied to the story of “Big Bad Wolf”.


This website, Help Prevent Disease, directs you to a page called “What IS Whooping Cough?” and “Whooping Cough FAQ’s” and there is an interesting little “test” you can take called True/False Challenge – just FIVE questions – it asks you about Whooping Cough, of course, and you end up getting educated, educated, educated.   And THAT’S the key to all health issues, safety issues, prevention issues – get EDUCATED!

Big BAD Cough – an important extra!

This seems a good time to also remind people about coughing and sneezing.   Please, please, please COVER it!   100% of the flying projections from your sneeze or cough can be contained by using a handkerchief or tissue.   100%.   Yes – ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

Sneezing into your elbow?   SO LIMITED – lots of droplets still splay out many, many feet.   Check out my blog about SNEEZING.

If your sneeze sneaks up on you?   SNEEZE DOWN YOUR SHIRT!   I call it “keep it at home”.   You’re not spreading it to others.  You’re localizing into your shirt.   GOOD FOR YOU!  

sneeze down shirt

As always, Stay Safe, Learn More, GET TRAINED!

Best wishes!


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Jean Lesmeister, 15 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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