Babysitting is a huge responsibility and a valuable service. The most important goal in babysitting is keeping yourself and the children safe. Do you know how to be safe while babysitting? Have you thought about how to prevent problems and emergencies? Here are some tips on what to consider before starting your new babysitting business:
Think of yourself as a bodyguard - you should be with the child every minute they are awake. The younger the child, the more you will have to do, so think about how the ages of the children will affect your duties before you accept a babysitting job. Always have a list of important numbers on hand, including a phone number where the child’s parents can be reached and a name and phone number for a back-up adult. 911 and the Poison Center Number (800 -222-1222) should be included in your list of important numbers. Always ask the parent about any allergies the child might have and the plan of action if these reactions occur.
Tools of the Trade
Appropriate clothing for a babysitting job are clothes that are clean and will let you comfortably move around and play with young children. Avoid anything that might be dangerous around a young child such as dangling earrings, breakable jewelry, and chains. Avoid clothing that is revealing, and make sure long hair is pulled back. It’s best to leave any product that can harm a young child at home, like perfume, nail polish, batteries, or medications you put on your skin like acne preparations.
Identify Common Household Hazards
Always look for hazards in the home and make sure no dangerous objects are within a child’s reach. While working for a new family or entering an unfamiliar house, be aware of potential dangers like open stairways, uncovered electrical outlets, medicine cabinets, and cleaning products. You should also know where important items are located like the first aid kit, telephones, alarm systems, flashlights, and light switches. Make sure you ask the family about any fire escape plans and outside meeting places they may have established.
Safety for the Sitter
Always be sure your parent has the employer’s name, address, phone number, and knows the time you will return from the job. Also, make sure to arrange safe transportation home. Do not babysit for families you don’t know unless you’re satisfied that the references have been checked out. Do not advertise for babysitting jobs in public places, especially online. Come up with a safety signal with your parents that will alert them to pick you up if you feel uncomfortable in a situation.
Handling a New Employer
One of the most important factors in managing a new employer is making sure you will be safe. Discuss fees and rules before arriving to the job site, and be sure to ask the parents how to handle problem behavior and how to comfort the child if necessary. Always get permission from your parents before accepting a job on the spot.
About Safe Sitter
Safe Sitters gain skills in responsibility, planning, and decision-making. The Safe Sitter mission is to prepare young adolescents for the profound responsibilities of nurturing and protecting children. Safe Sitter is a competency-based, highly interactive curriculum developed by two pediatricians, Dr. Ross and Dr. Keener. All first aid information is based on recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Safe Sitter is a medically accurate program that teaches boys and girls ages 11 to 13 how to handle emergencies when caring for children. To find a class, visit: www.safesitter.org/find-a-class