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A Guide for Babysitters

A Guide for Babysitters

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:

Allergies:

Medications:

Night Light?

Special Instructions or Routines to Follow:

Police or Fire Emergency Phone Number: 911

Poison Control Center:

Prevention & Safety