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Babysitting Safety

Be Responsible
Before accepting a babysitting job for the first time, check references.  Before accepting the job, get specific instructions about the number and ages of the children, medicines, foods, bedtimes, personal habits and what is expected of you.  Find out where the parents can be reached, when they will return and where they are going.  Ask which relative or neighbor can be called in an emergency if the parents do not respond to your call.  Know first aid procedures before you take a babysitting job.

  • DO NOT allow strangers into the house.
  • DO NOT tell a caller that you are the babysitter alone with the children, take a message and tell them the person will return the call momentarily.
  • 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.

Checklist

  • Know the name, address and phone number of employer.
  • Obtain directions to job location.
  • Arrange transportation.
  • Know the location and phone number to reach employer in case of an emergency. Have an alternate person to contact in case of an emergency if your employer cannot be reached.
  • Ask your employer for any instructions.
  • Walk through house with employer to ensure all doors and windows are locked.  Also obtain locations and instructions on use of safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, first aid supplies.
  • Know the location of children's rooms and exit areas.
  • Turn on the outside lights.
  • Have emergency numbers and a notepad by telephone.

Home Safety Tips
Be aware at all times what the children are doing.  Toddlers can drown in not just swimming pools, but in the toilet bowl, bathtub, dog bowl, etc.  A hot pot can easily be pulled off the stove.  If you aren't paying attention, a child may take the opportunity to play with matches, play in water or wander off.

  • The infant is discovering his body.  He likes to throw, hold, drop, tear, grab and 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 ages of three on, children like active physical games, arts and crafts, blocks, pretend, games of skill and reading.  Some dangers - street dangers, falling, stoves, poisons, heaters, matches and lighters.
  • Never leave children alone.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Do not smoke on the job.
  • Trade sharp and electrical objects for something safe to play with.
  • Keep portable heaters away from play areas, curtains, furniture and the children.  Contact burns are common for toddlers.

While children need you in case of an emergency like fire, injuries or sickness; they need you for play too.  A good babysitter is a good player. 

First Aid
For emergency help, call 911.  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.
  • If the child swallows something poisonous, call 911.  Have the container ready so you can read it to the 911 operator.
  • Put cool water on a burn.  If the skin is already blistered, dead white, brown or charred, you need emergency help; call 911.

Fire Emergency

  • If there is a fire, get everyone out and call 911 from a neighbor's house.  Do not go back to the burning house.
  • Know escape routes in case front and back doors are blocked by smoke or a fire.
  • If a person is on fire, they are to  stop, drop and roll.  If available, use a blanket or rug to smother the flames.
  • Crawl under smoke to get better air near the floor.