Child Care: Babysitter Guidelines
If possible, it is a good idea to interview a potential babysitter before letting him or her care for your children. The interview is a great way to make sure you find the right person to care for your children. Arrange for the sitter to meet your children before babysitting if possible.
It helps to go over some guidelines with babysitters, both at the interview and when you leave the house. This gives the babysitter a better idea of what you expect. Take a tour of the house and point out where to find first aid supplies, fire extinguishers, flashlights, toys, clothing, snacks, and other items. Talk about the fire escape plan and emergency exits. Make sure the sitter knows CPR and has first aid training.
Here is the information to provide to anyone who will take care of your children while you are away:
- Your family name, phone number, address, and the nearest cross street.
- Where you will be, how you can be reached, and when you will return.
- Important phone numbers: police, fire, poison control center, hospital, children's doctor, ambulance. Post near the phone.
- The name and phone number of a nearby friend, neighbor, or relative.
- Children's names, ages, weights, any food allergies or medical conditions, and information about needed medicines.
- Rules about friends visiting, TV and computer use, how to answer the telephone, outdoor play, smoking, and snacks. (Talk about rules that apply to both the children and to the sitter.)
- Warnings about not opening the door to strangers and hanging up immediately on crank callers.
- Instructions about feeding and bathing.
- Special instructions about such things as child's fears, favorite play activities, or family pets.
- Bedtime routines such as brushing teeth, washing hands, favorite bedtime story, light on or off, door open or closed.
- How to handle misbehavior.
- Rules for play and places the children should avoid, such as the garage, basement, office, or swimming pool.
Make sure the sitter never leaves young children unattended or alone in the house, especially while the child is in a high chair, walker, bath, or stroller. Make sure the sitter knows that it is okay to call parents with any questions or concerns.
Written by Donna Warner Manczak, PhD, MPH.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-12-16
Last reviewed: 2010-06-16
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes
available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical
evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.