Whether it is your first job, or you are a seasoned veteran caring for young children, babysitting is one the biggest responsibilities you will ever have, and something that must always be taken seriously. Consider taking a child/infant first aid training class.
- Know your employer. Babysit only the people you or your parents know, or for whom you have a personal reference. Answering newspapers ads may not be safe.
- Be sure to find out from your employer what time they expect to be back. Be sure that they know how much you charges, and if you have a curfew, especially if it is your first time babysitting for them.
- Leave with your parents the name, phone number and address of where you will be babysitting, and tell them what time your employer expects to return home.
Do and Don't
Do Not allow strangers into the house unless your employer specifically informs you to let them in. If the stranger asks if you are babysitting or home alone, say you are visiting and you will deliver the message.
Do Not tell a caller that you are the baby-sitter alone with the children. Say you are visiting, and the child’s parents can’t come to the phone right now, but you will gave them a message. If anyone persists or gets rude, hang up.
Do Not go outside to investigate suspicious noises or activities. Turn on outside lights and call the police. Be sure that all doors and windows are locked.
Do Not invite friends over while you babysit. Employer expect top priority in the care of their child(ren).
Do Not have the TV or Stereo too loud. You need to be able to hear any unusual noise, or hear a child cry.
- Have name, address and phone number of employer
- Have directions to job location
- Arrange your transportation to get to location and return home
- Have location and phone number of where employer can be reached in case of emergency
- Have alternate person to contact for emergency if employer cannot be reached
- Have special instructions from employer
- Have locations and instructions on use of safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid supplies
- Walk through house with employer to ensure all doors and windows are locked
- Turn outside lights on
- Have emergency numbers and note taking materials by the telephone
When sitting at a home for the first time, the baby-sitter should obtain important fire and life safety information as well. Make sure the address is clearly posted outside. Write down the address and post it near the telephone. Walk through the home to familiarize yourself with the locations of all rooms. Determine which bedroom the children will be sleeping in and make sure there are two exits from each. Locate all exits from the home.
Each year, at least one pediatric drowning in Arizona can be attributed to a baby-sitter who answered the telephone or spoke with friends while a toddler slipped into the family swimming pool, toilet, bathtub, dog bowl, etc. Injuries may occur to children when the baby-sitter's attention is elsewhere. A toddler may fall or pull a hot pot off the stove when the baby-sitter isn't watching. An unnoticed child may take the opportunity to play with matches when the parents have left.
Playing with the Child(ren)
Although children need you in case of an emergency like fire, injuries, or sickness, they need you for play, too. The good baby-sitter is a good player. Here are some things children play at and dangers to watch for.
- The infant is discovering his body. He likes to throw, hold, drop, tear, grab, roll. Some dangers - puts things in his mouth, helpless in water, and can easily smother.
- Toddlers are getting into everything. The toddler likes to bang, push, pull, put in, take out, jump, draw, and color. Some dangers - swallowing things, falling, matches and lighters, heaters, poisons, and the stove.
- From the age of three on, children like active physical games, arts and crafts, blocks, pretend, games of skill, and reading. Some dangers: street dangers, falls, stoves, heaters, matches and lighters.
Leaving the Residence with the Child(ren)
- If you take the children to the park, or anywhere else, make sure you have the house key with you when you leave. Double check to make sure all doors are locked before you leave.
- It is also a good idea to have all the children go to the bathroom before you leave, to avoid having to use the public restrooms.
- When on walks with young children, always hold them by the hand. Keep the child between you and the houses, not between you and the street.
- When you are out with the children, do not talk to strangers, and if you suspect you are being followed at any time, go to the nearest home, store, or gas station and call the police.
- When you get back to the child(ren)'s home, if anything seems unusual--a broken window, a door ajar, a strange car parked in the driveway or outside--don't go in. Go to a neighbor and call the police. In fact, if at any time when you are babysitting, if you are uneasy or suspicious about something you see or hear, don't hesitate to call the police.
- Never leave children alone. When they are alone, they can have unintentional injuries with matches, gasoline, the stove, water, poisons, falls, and drowning.
- Keep matches and lighters locked away from children.
- Trade sharp and electrical objects for something safe to play with.
- Keep portable heaters away from play areas, curtains, furniture, and the children as well. Contact burns are common for toddlers, especially if they fall against hot surfaces like space heaters.
- Don't smoke on the job.
Kitchen Safe Tips
- Supervise children when they are in the kitchen. This is the place for injuries with fire and hot liquids.
- You and the children should wear tight sleeves during meal preparation. Loose-fitting clothes can catch fire.
- Turn pot handles inward on the stove so children can't pull them down.
- Smother a pan fire with a lid. Never use water.
- Roll up appliance cords so they can't be pulled down.
- Put the baby in the playpen if you have a hot pot or drink in hand, so she can't get burned.
For emergency help, call 9-1-1. Call the parents if you have questions about lesser emergencies. Notify the parents about small injuries when they return.
- For minor cuts, stop bleeding by applying gentle pressure with a clean cloth. Wash the wound and apply a bandage.
- Learn CPR. There are any numbers of emergencies where your knowledge of CPR could arise and be needed.
- If the child swallows something poisonous, call 9-1-1. Have the container ready so you can read it to the fire department on the phone.
- Show children how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes catch on fire. Rolling smothers the flames. Use a blanket or rug if one is on hand. Call 9-1-1.
- Put cool water on a burn; this slows skin damage. If the skin is already blistered, dead white, brown, or charred, you need emergency help. Call 9-1-1.
Fire Escape Planning
- Check smoke detectors.
- Plan ahead. Know how to get children out of the bedrooms if the front or back doors are blocked by smoke or fire. Make sure you know in advance what all your escape options are.
- Smoke kills. Shut doors to stop it from advancing.
- Show children how to crawl under smoke to get better air near the floor.
- If there's a fire, get everybody out and then call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house.
- Don't go back to the burning house. Many people are killed returning to a burning building.