Guide for Babysitters

Sitters need to protect themselves as well as the children for whom they are caring.  Knowing first aid procedures before taking baby-sitting jobs will help prepare them for emergencies and may save a life.  The American Red Cross offers babysitting classes.  Class information is available by calling the American Red Cross Dearborn office at (313) 274-5450.  Babysitters should know these guidelines:

Before you Accept

  • Know your employer.  Baby-sit only for people that you and your parents know. Leave the name, address and phone number of where you’ll be babysitting with your parents, and tell them what time your employers expect to be home.

Write it Down

  • Parent’s name, phone number and address.
  • Number of children, their names and ages.
  • Time of arrival at job and estimated length of stay.
  • Leave your parents a note with the name, phone number and address of the family for whom you’ll be babysitting and the time you’ll be home.

When you Arrive

  • Get as much information as you can and write it down.
  • Where will the parents be?  Get the phone number of where they will be.  What time do they expect to return?
  • Get the name and phone number of both the family doctor and a neighbor or friend.  You should also have emergency phone numbers for police, fire and poison control center.
  • Ask for instructions on handling incoming phone calls. For maximum security, you should never tell a caller that you’re home alone with children.
  • Explain to the caller that there is an adult at home but they are unable to come to the phone.  Then, as if you can take a message and phone number.
  • Be sure doors and windows are locked and ask which lights should be left on if you’re to stay late at night.
  • Is there a fire escape, fire extinguisher or second exit?

While You’re There

  • NEVER open the door to strangers.
  • Check and lock doors and windows.
  • Be aware of strange noises, prowlers at the windows, unusual phone calls.
  • If the child is taking some type of medication, determine the time of the last dosage as well as the time for the next.
  • If you take the children outside, NEVER talk to strangers.  Be extra careful near swimming pools, roads and strange animals.
  • If you hear any suspicious noises, check them out by turning on the outside lights.  Do NOT go outside.  If you suspect someone is there, call the police immediately.
  • If you receive unusual or obscene phone calls, do not let the caller know you are alone.  Hang up and call the police.
  • If someone comes to the door requesting to use the phone, do NOT let them in.  Make the call for them.  If they attempt to enter, call the police.

In Case of Fire

  • Get the children out of the house immediately. Stay close to the floor to avoid deadly smoke and fumes.  Feel doors to see if they’re hot.  There may be fire on the other side.  When everyone is out, go to a neighbor’s house and call the fire department or 9-1-1.

Avoid Accidents

  • Pick up toys or other objects on stairs or in passageways.
  • Know the location of medicines, cleaning and electrical outlets, and keep children from them.
  • If the house is suddenly quiet, check immediately—they could be up to something!

You’re a “Guest”

  • Don’t tie up the telephone with calls to friends.  The parents may be trying to reach you.
  • Don’t allow friends to visit.  All of your attention is suppose to be on the children.
  • Stay out of closets, desk drawers and personal papers.
  • Enjoy only those snacks that you’ve been offered.

When Parents Return

  • Tell them about any problems encountered during your stay, either with the children or otherwise.
  • Give the parents all messages taken during your stay.
  • If, for any reason, you should feel uncomfortable with the parent who is to escort you home, insist on calling your own parents to make other arrangements.

Source:  American Crime Prevention Institute