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Safety measures for baby sitters

Updated December 23, 2009

Caring for young children is one of the biggest responsibilities youíll ever have. You must protect yourself, as well as the children.

Getting the job

Know your employer. Baby-sit only for people you or your parents know, or for whom you have a personal reference. Answering newspaper advertisements 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.

On the job

  • Before your employers leave, fill out the Baby-sitting safety checklist. 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 youíre baby-sitting, donít tell the caller that youíre alone. Say youíre visiting and the residents canít come to the telephone, but youíll give them a message. If the caller persists or gets rude, just hang up.
  • Donít open the door to strangers and donít tell anyone who comes to the door that youíre there alone. Again say youíre visiting and will deliver a message.
  • During the day you might have the children out in the yard. If youíre in the backyard, make sure the front door is locked. If you are in the front yard, make sure the back door is locked.
  • If you take the children to a 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, donít talk to strangers. If you suspect youíre being followed at any time, go to a nearby store or gas station and call the police.
  • When you get back to the childrenís home, if anything seems unusual—a broken window, an open door, a strange car parked outside—donít go in. Go to a neighborís and call the police. For that matter, if at any time while youíre baby-sitting, youíre uneasy or suspicious about anything, donít hesitate to call the police.

In an emergency

  • If you suspect a fire, get the children and yourself out. Go to a neighborís and call the fire department. If youíve been able to take the safety check list 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 wonít panic if you donít.

When the job's over

  • When your employers return home, report on what happened, especially if you consider anything unusual.
  • Call home to let someone know youíre on your way.
  • Be sure you have an escort home. This should be one of the conditions under which you accept any baby-sitting job.
  • If for some reason your employers wonít drive or walk you home, or seem intoxicated, ask someone at your home to come and get you.

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