If you’re like me, the thought of turning the safety of your children over to an unproven sitter is petrifying! Over and above the concerns surrounding routine, we worry about emergencies in nearly every form. Let’s remove an element of fear by taking the following essential life-saving safety & sitter tips.
- Make sure the sitter you hire has proper child care skills and techniques and is equipped to handle emergencies. Not all of us have nearby family or friends that we can rely on for babysitting. If you’re unsure who to hire, you may want to consider a service like Sittercity or Care.com.
Sittercity is a nationwide network of over 2 million qualified and prescreened sitters. It’s a wildly popular service with parents posting jobs every 2 minutes and caregivers connecting with families every 3 seconds. Right now there is a Sittercity Promotion: 30% off 3 Month Membership through the text link.
You can also join Care.com FREE today to find a screened, trained babysitter. Incidentally, you can also use this service to find a nanny, senior caregiver, housekeeper, dog walker, and pet sitter.
- Post contact numbers for yourself, any emergency contact, pediatrician, reliable neighbors, and the like.
- Ask the sitter to arrive at least a half-hour ahead to review needs and requirements. This is especially important if the child has severe allergies or other health issues.
- Show the sitter where to find first-aid supplies; review house rules for both the sitter and your children.
- Review any routine for eating, bedtime, bath and so on, this is a good time to let the sitter know what they can safely bring into your home for their own consumption and/or entertainment.
- Lock doors. If doors require a key to exit, make sure the sitter knows where an extra set are located.
- If the babysitting is at night time, close the blinds. Always lock windows and discuss emergency exit routes.
- If the sitter is young, remind them not to open the door for strangers. You may want to consider introductions to neighbors they can turn to for assistance.
- Insist the sitter not get side-tracked and let children out of their site. Children should be watched at all times; injuries happen very quickly.
- Remind the sitter that child safety locks should remain in place and purses should be placed out of reach.
- Secure all medications out of sight. Consider a Prescription Drug Cabinet that can be mounted out of reach and locked.
- If the sitter needs to administer medicine, either in the case of illness or allergies, it should be securely put away between doses.
- Never give medicine without carefully reading warnings and dosage amounts. If in doubt, call the pediatrician’s office.
- Again, keep purses, bags, backpacks, and coats out of reach of small children, since these many times hold medications or products that can pose a health or safety threat.
POISON PREVENTION SAFETY
- Keep household cleaning products and medications in a cabinet or closet that locks or has a child resistant latch. We use this Child Baby Safety Cabinet Lock Latch. It is the only one our children haven’t successfully opened or disabled.
- It is strongly suggested that household cleaning products and medicines remain stored in original containers, for easy identification and as these are usually child resistant.
- Keep household products in a separate location from foods as well as medications.
- Consider taking personal medicine when children can’t see you. We all know how little ones like to imitate us!
- Refer to medicine by its proper name, don’t refer to it as candy, this only increases the fascination with it.
CALL 911 – WHEN
You’ll want to make it clear that the sitter or family members can call 911 in the case of an emergency. If a situation develops and they are concerned about the health or safety of anyone and are unsure what to do, it is better to call 911 than to doubt and be sorry later. Make sure if there are any children with health issues, the sitter is aware of any signs and symptoms related to the child’s condition that may result in a life-threatening reaction and knows the protocol.
P.S. What safety precautions do you take before a sitter watches your children?