Ludington Hospital named a ‘Gold Level Provider’ of Safe Sitter instruction

April 7, 2023

Ludington Hospital named a ‘Gold Level Provider’ of Safe Sitter instruction

LUDINGTON — Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, part of Corewell Health, has been notified that its Community Services department has been named a Gold Level Safe Sitter Provider, the highest level that can be achieved.

“The Safe Sitter class is important because if a child is choking, stops breathing, or has an allergic reaction, it shows kids what to do to save them and help others,” said Tristan Johnson, 12, a Mason County Eastern Schools student who completed the class in 2022. “I learned to use the Epi-pen, CPR, and how to stop someone from choking. I also learned about other emergencies, how to handle a sick child, and how to run a babysitting business. My favorite thing about the class was learning to keep kids safe,” he said.

Johnson’s mother, Cassi, has ensured all of her eligible children receive the instruction. “I have put four of my five children through the Safe Sitter course here in Ludington, and my youngest will go through it as soon as she is old enough, as well,” Johnson stated. “We originally were using the program so my oldest two kids could start babysitting and earn money, but once they went through, we realized how useful it really is. Having them certified has made me more confident in their abilities to help not only their younger siblings but other children, as well,” she said.

“My kids have spent their summers and more helping with childcare for friends and neighbors and earning money while they do it,” Johnson said. “We have always felt confident that they could handle any situation that might come up because of their training. I actually had one of them go through a different, more expensive, course because Safe Sitter wasn’t available at the time, and we turned back around and put her back through the Safe Sitter course as soon as possible because the other course just wasn’t as comprehensive. I would recommend this class to anyone with kids even if you never intend to have them babysit.”

Kelly Barnhardt and Leona Ashley are the Ludington Hospital Safe Sitter program instructors, and both are certified in teaching the classes. They have been teaching Safe Sitter courses locally for four years. “It’s been a great experience teaching Safe Sitter classes to so many area youth,” said Barnhardt. “We really enjoy getting to know the kids in each class and helping set them up for success.”

Ashley agreed. “We get such good questions from our students,” she said. “They really engage with the information we are sharing and are eager to learn and develop their skills. It’s a great program, and we try to make it fun and educational.”

The Safe Sitter program is a medically accurate course which teaches boys and girls in grades 6-8 how to handle emergencies when caring for younger children. The class content includes basic lifesaving techniques to prepare sitters to act in a crisis, tips to assist sitters be confident caregivers, safety and security precautions such as when and how to call for help, information on child development and age-appropriate activities, and business aspects of babysitting. The course is taught by certified professionals.

Everyone who completes the course receives a Safe Sitter certificate.

“Over the past 40 plus years, hundreds of Safe Sitter graduates across the country have used the skills learned in a Safe Sitter class to help someone in an emergency,” said Katie Luczak, Midwest program support specialist for Safe Sitter. “We have received many stories from parents, instructors, and students who share their experiences. Each year, we recognize our providers for teaching students in their communities. We have three categories for our providers: Gold, Silver, and Bronze that relate to the number of students taught. In 2022, the Ludington Hospital taught 154 students, qualifying for Gold Level status, which is anything over 125 students. I want to thank Ludington Hospital and your instructors for your strong commitment to serving your local communities and helping make them safer.”

There are six Safe Sitter classes planned for 2023, with the first one coming in June. There is a $25 fee and registration is required. Watch for more details to be shared in local media and on Ludington Hospital’s Facebook page.


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