Babysitting Safety Tips for Parents and Babysitters

Finding the Babysitter

The best sources of child care information are the recommendations of family, friends, and neighbors. You may also advertise in the newspaper or through your local high school, church, or civic organization.

Hiring the Babysitter

Once you have a list of possible babysitters, check their references carefully. Contact their past employers, teachers, relatives, friends, or neighbors and ask them about the sitter’s qualifications for child care. Most important, interview several prospective sitters personally and observe their interaction with your children. Look for mature and responsible people who listen and respond well to your children and appear relaxed and happy with them. Last, outline the duties and responsibilities and discuss an imagined emergency situation and how he or she might react. When you decide on one who meets your standards, discuss the hours and pay. Also write down his/her name, home address, and telephone number and, if an adult, their driver’s license number.

When the Babysitter Arrives

Ask the babysitter to arrive at least 15 minutes before you leave. Take the sitter around the house. Show him/her any first-aid equipment and all doors and possible exits. It is a good idea to discuss the rules regarding television, snacks, and bedtime with both the babysitter and children present. It is the parents’ responsibility to let the children know what rules are to be obeyed when they are away. Other potential situations that may place the sitter and the children in an uncomfortable situation (e.g. neighborhood crime, street situations, a non-custodial parent, an unfriendly animal at home or nearby) should be discussed.

The babysitter should be given the following specific instructions:

  1. Phone numbers where parents are and a reasonable time when they will return.
  2. List of phone numbers for the police, fire department, ambulance and any other important names and numbers by the phone. Names and numbers of neighbors who are able to assist him/her in the event of an emergency.
  3. The complete street address of the house and explicit directions to the house. This is good information to know if the babysitter should need to call the police, fire department or ambulance.
  4. Any medical problems that may arise and how to deal with them as well as any medicines to give. The family doctor’s name/number should be provided should a medical problem arise.
  5. Rules concerning answering the door or other situations that may place your babysitter and the children in an uncomfortable situation (e.g. neighborhood crime, dangerous street situations, a non-custodial parent, an unfriendly pet at home).

Your Return Home

When you return home, ask the babysitter if the children are safe and if anything unusual happened -- telephone calls, visits, and so on. Make sure that the babysitter is escorted home, and wait until he or she is safety inside before you leave. Do not hesitate to praise your babysitter for a job well done. With good pay, good praise, and having the babysitter feel they are doing a good job, the safety and protection of your children should increase.

Most important, when the babysitter has left, talk to your children about what they did while you were gone such as games they played and other activities. Ask your children if anything happened that made them uncomfortable or afraid.

Safety tips for babysitters:

It is extremely important that you take your babysitting job seriously and make a conscientious attempt to take the best of care of a family’s most important possession -- their children.

Do not look upon your babysitting time as “leisure time” for you to invite your friends over or to be constantly on the phone such that the children are basically left unattended. Remember that your first responsibility is to the children you are caring for.

  1. Lock all doors when the parents leave.
  2. The children should be watched carefully and kept away from dangerous objects or chemicals and protected from household accidents.
  3. Visitors or guests 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. Never allow a stranger in the house. 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 to 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 rest rooms 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.
  9. Arrange with your parents transportation to and from your babysitting assignment. DO NOT TAKE A RIDE HOME FROM SOMEONE WHO APPEARS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Police Department: ______________________________________
Ambulance: _____________________________________________
Fire Department: ________________________________________
Family Doctor’s Name: ___________________________________
Family Doctor’s Phone Number: ___________________________
Home Street Address: ____________________________________
Home Phone Number: ____________________________________
Directions to Home: ______________________________________
_________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________

Other Important Numbers:
1. _____________________
2. _____________________
3. _____________________