A Few Minutes of Preparation Provide Peace of Mind
As a parent, it’s natural to feel a certain level of anxiety when entrusting a babysitter with your children’s care. After all, how can you be sure they’ll be safe? There are five easy, but essential, sitter safety tips that you should follow before you leave. This will increase the safety of your children and your sitter as well as your peace of mind.
Proper preparation does involve spending some time with your sitter prior to your leaving. But, it will be time well spent! If you’ve hired a new babysitter, consider that it takes time to orient a new sitter to your home, children, and your children’s routines. You’ll want to allow 30 minutes for orientation before you leave.
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO
- Leave a list of emergency numbers and important information. Show the sitter where it can be found. This might be next to your home phone or in another prominent place, such as on your refrigerator. The list should include: the telephone number for emergency services (9-1-1), your home phone number and address with clear directions on how to locate your house, the name and phone number of a back-up adult or nearby, available neighbor the sitter can call if necessary, and the Poison Center 1-800-222-1222.
- Show your sitter where first aid supplies are kept. Be sure to leave a first aid chart for easy reference. You may obtain one from the American Academy of Pediatrics by calling 800-433-9016.
- Discuss any special conditions or medication that the sitter needs to know. Be sure to write down specific medication instructions including when to administer, the amount, where to store, and how to get the child’s cooperation. It is best to pre-measure and make sure medications are out of reach of the children.
- Take your sitter on a house tour. Point out all entrances and exits, fire/burglar alarms, flashlights, and off-limits areas. Discuss what to do in case of a fire. This includes where to go call for help, and any escape routines you may have practiced with your children. (Remind the sitter that in the event of a fire, 9-1-1 should be called after the sitter has taken the children outside.)
- Make sure your home is secure by locking all doors and windows on your way out. If it’s after dark, close your curtains and blinds. Tell your sitter not go to the door and to not let anyone inside even if someone knocks. Do not make arrangements for deliveries while you are gone, including pizza.
PREPARATION IS KEY
When you leave your kids at home with a sitter, you should do more than simply tell your sitter where you can be reached and when you’ll be home. (Although you should definitely start with both bits of information.) For your peace of mind, and the safety of your kids and sitter, it’s worth the extra time it takes to go over some essentials before you step out.
Has your sitter taken a babysitting preparation course? If not, consider signing him or her up for Safe Sitter®! Use our Find a Class tool.
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