Babysitting can be both enjoyable and challenging. Every kid has a different personality and as a babysitter, you should learn how to adjust to any kind of situation. While some kids would simply sit after giving them a set of toys, others can be stubborn and temperamental. In either situation, you must ensure that they are safe at all times.
How to be a Safe Babysitter
Babysitting offers a whole lot of fun and exciting activities, especially if you are fond of kinds.
Here are some safety tips when you are babysitting:
1. What to Do Before Engaging in Babysitting Gigs
Engaging in babysitting does not happen simply because you want to earn. It is a serious job and you have to be ready for it. Make sure that you are ready and have undergone some safety precaution training, like first aid and other emergency safety measures.
Some parents may also require that you’re a certified babysitter. This ensures that you are ready for any situation that may happen, hence, it can be an advantage if you undergo formal babysitting training.
Another thing that you need to do before heading out to your client is to know their family information. Know the age of the child you are babysitting, your rate, hours of duty and the tasks you will have to do.
You should also remember to wear something comfortable, washable and practical, preferably with pockets. Working with kids may mean spillage and stains. Pretty sure, you do not want any ink or heavy coloured syrup on your oh so expensive dress.
2. Talk to the Child’s Parents Before They Leave
Before you and your ward part with the parents, make sure that you talk to them. Know and understand the DOs and DON’Ts for your babysitting. You should make sure to follow their instructions on point.
You should also ask the parents about their contact numbers and where they can be found in case of extreme situations and emergencies. In case there should be any unwarranted deviation from their instructions, make sure to call them before or immediately after it happened.
3. Stay Aware, Awake and Connected
It is a must that you are always ready to face any challenges that come with babysitting. It helps to have a complete and well-rested sleep the night before your stint. This can help you stay awake and prepared at all times.
You should also be aware of what is going on around you. Know where your ward is at all times and be aware of the circumstances happening inside and outside your vicinity. It helps to be alert at all times.
Stay connected with the child you are babysitting. Always keep in mind that you are hired to care for him or her. It may be best to earn the child’s trust and connect with him or her. You’ll find it incredible when you can comfortably sit with the child and enjoy fun activities together.
4. Know the Emergency Contact Numbers
Aside from your cellular phone, a list of emergency contact numbers is one of the most important pieces of information that you should always keep in your pocket. Make sure that your phone is fully charged before heading to your client’s house and keep it close at all times.
Emergency contact numbers include the parents’ personal and work contact numbers, their trusted neighbour’s number, and the child’s pediatrician contact information. You should also be aware of the emergency hotline number of the state you live in. Keep a list of contact numbers of the nearest police station, fire station, hospital, child care facility and other agencies.
5. Look for Potential Hazards
On the day of your babysitting, it may be best to arrive about an hour early. That way you can have more time to look through some important areas after talking and getting instructions from the parents. Know where the main power switch is and the fire extinguisher. You should also know where the important appliances and devices are as well as the power outlets.
Check places or areas where children may trip or stumble. You should also remove tiny pieces of toys that may cause choking, sharp objects that may wound the child and pieces of cloth or plastic that may suffocate your ward.
It also helps to encourage the parents to install safety locks and latches around the house, especially doors and cabinets that the child can reach and open. You should also make sure that stairs have dividers to keep your toddlers from climbing them.
6. Be with the Child at All Times
Remember to stay close with the child at all times, especially when they are awake and active. Always be there before they trip or fall. Let them feel that they are safe and secure. It helps to allow them to maneuver on their own but be sure that you are nearby ready to give them a hand when they need one.
7. Properly Manage Mealtimes
One of the most important tasks when babysitting is making sure they eat properly and on time. Ask the child’s parents if they have food specifications and the right time they should be fed. Know about foods, drinks and ingredients that can cause allergic reactions to the child.
8. Check the Child’s Clothing
When there is no specific set of clothes given by parents before they leave for work, choose clothes that fit perfectly – not too tight and not too loose. Make sure that the child is comfortable with what he or she is wearing.
Tight clothes can cause discomfort and anxiety to children, especially to active toddlers. When clothes are too loose, they may also be uncomfortable and may lead to unwanted accidents. It may get caught on playpens, appliances and furniture.
9. Repulse Trouble
When you are in a public place like the playground and a stranger approach you or the child, be alert. If it gives you even the slightest uneasiness, it may be the right time to get your ward and leave.
When someone you don’t know talks to you about the child which makes you uncomfortable, politely excuse yourselves and head home. This is true even if the stranger says they are a relative of the child. In which case, you may also contact the child’s parents and inform them of what happened.
10. Be Worthy of Their Trust
Lastly, gain the parents’ and the child’s trust. Present yourself with confidence at all times but make sure you still exude friendliness, honesty and reliability. Dress up to the occasion. Let your clients know that you are up for the job and not just to earn some extra cash.
When you are babysitting, make sure to focus on the child and his or her needs.
Contact Workplace Emergency Management to learn more about child safety!