How to Handle a Break-In When You’re Babysitting

Babysitting is a job that requires you to be in a house that may be unfamiliar in a neighborhood that may be new to you. When you screen the job, you need to make sure that it is safe to take the job. Break-ins can happen in safe neighborhoods and as a babysitter, you need to know what to do.

Like most things in babysitting, prevention is the best protection! Here are three things you can do to help prevent a break-in.

  1. Lock up. Whenever you are babysitting you need to make sure all the windows and doors are locked. If you have permission and are planning to play outside during the job, make sure you ask the employer for a house key or a key code to reenter the house.
  2. Close window coverings. When it starts to get dark outside, close the curtains or blinds in the house. You don’t want anyone to be able to see that the children are with a babysitter instead of their parents.
  3. Ignore the door. Unless you are expecting a visitor, do not answer the door. If you hear the doorbell, make sure you instruct the children to ignore the door as well.

If a break-in does occur, here is what you need to do.

  1. Stay calm. A break-in is very scary and when you stay calm, the children will stay calm as well.
  2. Call 9-1-1. If the home security alarm goes off or there is a break-in, take the children, hide in a closet or pantry, and call 9-1-1. Let the 9-1-1 operator know you are babysitting, and this is an emergency.
  3. Cooperate with the thief. If someone breaks into the house, cooperate with the thief. Don’t try to fight back or get a weapon, even if you know where one is stored.
  4. Call the employer. Always call the employer after you have responded to an unsafe situation. Explain what happened and how you handled the situation.

Even when you are careful, things can happen when you are babysitting and it is important that you know how to stay safe. To learn more about safe babysitting, check out the Safe Sitter® Help Sheet or sign up for a Safe Sitter® Class.