Caring for young children is one of the biggest responsibilities you'll ever have. You must be able to protect yourself as well as the children.
Getting the Job
- Know your employer. Babysit only for people you or your parents know, or for whom you have a personal reference. Answering newspaper ads may not be safe.
- Be sure to find out from your employers what time they expect to be back. Be sure they know how much you charge and when you must be home.
- Leave the name, address and telephone number of where you'll be babysitting with your parents, and tell them what time your employers expect to be home.
On the Job
- Before your employers leave, fill out the babysitter’s safety checklist at the end of this material. Do this for every job you take. Keep the form and a pencil and paper near the telephone.
- Have your employers do a safety check with you throughout their home. Find out if their home has emergency exits, a smoke alarm, or a fire extinguisher.
- Know how to work the door and window locks in the home, and use them. Leave at least one outside light on.
- If the telephone rings while you're babysitting, don't tell the caller that you're alone. Say you're visiting and the residents can't come to the telephone, but you'll give them a message. If the caller persists or gets rude, just hang up.
- Don't open the door to strangers, and don't tell anyone who comes to the door that you're there alone. Again, say you're visiting and will deliver a message.
- The same rules apply to daytime as well as night babysitting, with a few additions:
- During the day you might have the children out in the yard. If you're in back, make sure the front door is locked - and vice versa.
- If you take the children out to the park or anywhere else, make sure you have the house key with you when you leave. Double-check to be certain all doors and windows are locked before leaving.
- Have the children go to the bathroom before you leave to help avoid having to use public restrooms.
- When you are out with the children, don't talk to strangers. If you suspect you're being followed at any time, go to a nearby home, store, or gas station and call the police.
- When you get back to the children's home, if anything seems unusual - a broken window, an open door, a strange car parked outside - don't go in. Go to a neighbor's, and call the police.
- If at any time while you are babysitting, you are uneasy or suspicious about anything, don't hesitate to call the police.
In an Emergency
- If you suspect a fire, get the children and yourself outside. Go to a neighbor's house and call the fire department.
- If you've been able to take the safety checklist with you, call your employer and let them know where you and the children are.
- In any kind of emergency, stay calm. The most important thing to remember is that young children won't panic if you don't.
When The Job's Over
- When your employers return home, report on what happened, especially if you considered anything unusual.
- Call home to let someone know you're on your way.
- Be sure you have an escort home; this should be one of the conditions under which you accept any babysitting job.
- If, for some reason, your employers won't drive or walk you home - or seem intoxicated - ask someone at your home to come and get you.
Babysitting Safety Checklist
Address and Phone:
Where Parents Will Be:
Pager or Cellular Phone Number:
Emergency Neighbor Contact:
Child(ren)'s Doctor & Phone Number:
Special Instructions or Routines to Follow:
Police or Fire Emergency Phone Number: 911
Poison Control Center: