To make parents’ experiences easier when hiring a babysitter, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Jodi Wolfe offers a few important safety tips:
If possible, ask a trusted friend or a family member to watch your children. Having peace of mind can make the experience enjoyable for all parties involved.
If you are unable to use family or friends, ask your friends if they have any recommendations.
Do not hire any sitter under the age of 12.
Make sure your sitter is CPR certified and knows first aid.
Talk with your children about the babysitter; determine if your child is comfortable around the sitter.
If you are not completely comfortable with leaving your child with an unfamiliar sitter, hire them first to “sit” with your child while you are home. Watch how they interact with your child and respond to different situation that may arise during the day.
Before the babysitter arrives have a list of the following information by the telephone. The information below can assist in an emergency situation as well as educate your sitter on your child’s needs.
The address and major cross streets of your home should be the first on the list. If the babysitter has to call 911 the dispatcher will need to know the location emergency personnel must respond to. More than likely the babysitter will not know your address so having this information readily accessible will prevent any delay in EMS response time.
Write down the address and phone number of the location where you can be reached. Leave your cell number, spouse’s cell number or anyone you feel that can assist the babysitter if needed. If you have trusted neighbors, leave the babysitter your neighbor’s phone number as well as any trusted family members.
Leave the number for poison control (1-800-222-1222) and the local police or sheriff station.
Inform the babysitter if your child has food or drug allergies, or has any medical conditions you believe they should be aware of.
If your child takes medication leave specific instructions on the amount to give, what time the dose is due and the time last given.
Educate the sitter on how you would like for them to handle misbehavior issues.
Inform your babysitter not to open the door or answer the phone. This will relieve the babysitter of having to disclose the “man or women of the house” is not home.
Working together as a community, we can educate ourselves on how to keep our children healthy and injury-free while they are in the care of a babysitter.
For more information on babysitting, visit www.med.umich.edu.
Deputy Jodi Wolfe is assigned to the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.