|Babysitting Safety Tips|
As a babysitter you are entrusted with a parent's most precious possessions - their children. You are responsible for their care and their safety while their parents are away. Using the following suggestions can help you prepare for the responsibility:
Always arrive early so you have time to survey the house with the parent and get special instructions. This is especially important the first time you work for this customer. Get specific instructions about the number and ages of children, bed times, foods, medicines, and other information about personal habits and what is expected of you.
Learning first aid procedures before you take on babysitting jobs will help prepare you for emergencies and may save a life.
Have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency:
Know the locations and instructions on use for safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid supplies.
In the event of an emergency, dial 911. Identify yourself by name, tell them you are babysitting and state the problem. State the address of the house where you are and the nearest cross street. (Be sure to specify North, South, Avenue, Street, etc.) Give the phone number you are calling from.
Having visitors while babysitting is a bad policy. Always get approval if you would like to have a visitor.
Be sure to meet the family dog.
Take a walk through the house and check for any special locks, windows that cannot be climbed out of, other telephones and anything that would be a problem or help you in case of an emergency.
During the walk through, check for hazards and things that the children can get into, such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything else that may be dangerous.
Look to see if there is a pool. Verify that it is secure.
Have a mental fire drill: that is, plan on more ways than one to get yourself and the children out of the house in case of fire.
Be sure to find out if you are to give the children anything to eat or drink before bedtime.
Make sure all the doors and windows are locked from the inside, and lock the front door after the parents leave.
WHAT TO DO AFTER THE PARENTS LEAVE
If it is evening, turn on the porch/outside light.
If the children are asleep, check on them about every 15 minutes.
If the children are up, know their location at all times and never leave them alone too long.
If for any reason you must leave the house, TAKE THE CHILDREN WITH YOU!
DO NOT open the door for anyone unless you personally know the person.
DO NOT allow strangers into the house unless your employer specifically informs you to let them in. If someone insists on coming in and you do not recognize them, or if you suspect a prowler, CALL THE POLICE AT 911.
DO NOT tell a caller that you are the babysitter alone with the children. Take a message and tell them that the employer will return the call momentarily. Keep a notepad by the phone to record messages.
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.
IN CASE OF FIRE
Sound the alarm -- yell FIRE as loud as possible.
If possible, close the door to the area where the fire is.
DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to save a life.
Get everyone out of the house, and do not go back in for any reason.
Keep all the children together, and go to the approved neighbor's home.
Call the Fire Department at 911 and leave the children with the neighbors, then go back outside to direct the firefighters to the fire if you need to.
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.
Bring some things to play with like a notebook, magazines, colored paper, color markers, tape, and a flashlight. Surprises for the children will make the job easy for you and fun for them. Make a game of putting things back in their place.
A well-prepared babysitter will be highly respected and greatly appreciated by parents. Any sitter who takes these recommendations to heart will be in great demand.
(Note: These tips were compiled from various law enforcement and safety websites. If you have questions, comments or additional tips, please submit them to the Webmaster.)