When the Babysitter Arrives

Ask the babysitter to arrive at least 15 minutes before you depart. Make sure that you let the sitter know exactly where you will be and how you can be reached. Write down the address and telephone number of where you will be. Also make a list of emergency telephone numbers: a friend or relative, the children's doctor, the police department, the fire department, an ambulance service, and the poison control center.

Carefully go over any family rules and daily routines, paying special attention to eating or sleeping arrangements. Take the sitter on a tour of the house, showing him or her any first-aid equipment and all doors and possible exits. It is a good idea to discuss the family rules regarding television, snacks, and bedtime with both the babysitter and the children present. It is the parents' responsibility to let the children know what rules are to be obeyed when the parents are out of the house.

The babysitter should be given the following specific instructions:

  1. Lock all doors when the parents leave.
  2. The children should be watched carefully while they are awake and kept away from dangerous objects or chemicals and protected from household accidents.
  3. The sitter should not be permitted visitors or guests, nor should the sitter leave the children alone in the house at any time.
  4. When the children go to sleep, they should be checked regularly. The sitter should stay awake during his or her stay in the house.
  5. If the telephone rings, do not tell the caller that the children are alone with a babysitter. Ask the caller to leave a message for the parents.
  6. Do not open the door to anyone unless the parents have given prior permission. Ask to take a message.
  7. If the children are taken outside of the yard, they must be watched carefully. It is the parents' responsibility to let the babysitter know whom the children may play with or visit.
  8. If the children are with the babysitter in a public place, they must be watched carefully and not permitted to wander. Avoid sending the children to public restrooms alone. Make sure that you lock all windows and doors before you leave. When you return, if something seems suspicious (broken window or door), call the police immediately from another house.