When you babysit, you are entrusted with a child's life. Your primary responsibility is to care for the children's needs and most of all: keep them safe. You can prepare yourself for this important trust by following these guidelines.
- Have the following information written down and readily accessible in the event of an emergency: Family name, children's names, house address with nearest cross street, instructions on how to contact the parents, phone number(s) of close relatives and neighbors, doctor's name and phone number along with a medical release. Include the phone number of the poison control center 1-800-222-1222 nationwide. Please look up the phone number for your area. If you have a printer, a blank emergency information form is available.
- In the event of an emergency: Call 911: identify yourself by name, tell them you are babysitting and state the problem. State the address of the house where you are and the nearest cross street. (Be sure to specify north, South, Avenue, Street, etc.) Give the phone number you are calling from.
- Get written instructions about any medicines to be given to the children -- how much and what time.
- Having visitors while babysitting is a bad policy. Always get approval if you would like to have a visitor.
- Find out which visitor to see in case of an emergency.
- Be sure to meet the family dog.
- Take a walk through the house and check for any special locks, windows that cannot be climbed out of, other telephones and anything all that would be a problem in case of an emergency.
- During the walk through, check for hazards and things that the children can get into, such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything else that may be dangerous.
- Look to see if there is a pool. Check for doggie doors and any unlocked doors or windows leading to that area.
- Have a mental fire drill: that is, plan on more ways than one to get yourself and the children out of the house in case of fire.
- Be sure to find out if you are to give the children anything to eat or drink before bed.
- Make sure all the doors and windows are locked from the inside, and lock the front door after the parents leave.
What to do after the parents leave:
- If it is evening, turn on the porch/outside light.
- If the children are asleep, check on them about every 15 minutes.
- If the children are up, know their location at all times and never leave them alone too long.
- If for any reason you must leave the house, take the children with you!
- Do not open the door for anyone unless you personally know the person.
- If someone insists on coming in and you do not recognize them, or if you suspect a prowler, call the police at 911.
In case of fire:
- Sound the alarm -- yell FIRE as loud as possible.
- If possible, close the door to the area where the fire is.
- Do not attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to save a life.
- Get everyone out of the house, and do not go back in for any reason.
- Keep all the children together, and go to the approved neighbors home.
- Call the Fire Department at 911 and leave the children with the neighbors, then go back outside to direct the firefighters to the fire if you need to.
- A well-prepared babysitter will be highly respected and greatly appreciated by parents. Any sitter who takes these recommendations to heart will be in great demand.