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Posted by By Emily Linnert May 9, 2023 on May 13th 2023

Girl saves grandpa’s life with skills learned in babysitting class

Girl saves grandpa’s life with skills learned in babysitting class
Many people take CPR classes hoping to never have to use the skills they learn.

A Forest Hills girl never imagined what she learned in a babysitting class would help her save a family member’s life.

“I’d always wanted to learn how to babysit, and I had a really great babysitter when I was younger,” said seventh-grader Kate Lyon.

A common first job for many tweens and teens, Lyon enrolled in the How to Be a Great Babysitter class through Forest Hills Public Schools’ Community Services.

Lyon and her younger brother were visiting their grandparents in Okemos over the Fourth of July holiday last summer.

“We thought, ‘Oh he’s just playing, but then it was looking weird, and he wasn’t responding,'” remembers Lyon.

Tom Kissling, Lyon’s grandfather, had a heart attack right after dinner at the kitchen table.

“We went over and were shaking him, ‘Are you OK, what’s going on?’ And then we noticed he was turning blue,” said Lyon.

Lyon called 911 while her grandmother started giving chest compressions.

“I was sort of like, ‘You’re doing it wrong,’ so I stepped in and started doing them,” said Lyon.

Lyon was able to do those chest compressions until paramedics got there.

“Kate was only 12 at the time all this happened but had just taken the class and never thought she’d be using that in the next two months. She did and she saved my life,” said Kissling.

“I talk to the kids all the time about how much power they have in their actions and how they are capable of jumping into action. She did actually what we talked about,” said Cari O’Connor, an instructor at Heartbeat LLC.

O’Connor’s husband, a retired firefighter, started the company when their kids were young.

“When I was looking for a babysitter for my two young boys, I was really disappointed in the quality of babysitter,” said O’Connor.

Heartbeat LLC is the company that put on the babysitting course through Forest Hills, the class Lyon had taken just a couple of months before her grandfather’s heart attack.

“We talk about there are things you can do. Compressions-only CPR, anybody can do it. And calling 911, they can walk you through it. At the end of the day, you could be the driving force in saving a life and Kate got to experience that. What an amazing thing for her,” said O’Connor.

Lyon wants to be a director when she gets older — and she’s already proven she can take charge and run the show.

“I think that everyone should take a class and learn this because it’s important to me and it does save lives,” said Lyon.