Getting the Job
- Baby-sit only for people you know, or for whom you have a personal reference. Answering newspaper ads is not as safe as agreeing to sit for a friend of your mother's. Know your employer.
- Leave the name, address and telephone number of where you'll be babysitting with your parents, and tell them what time your employer expects to be home.
- Be sure to find out from your employer what time they expect to be back, and be sure, especially if it's your first time sitting for them, that they know how much you charge and if you have a curfew.
On the Job
- Before the parents leave, fill out a Babysitting Safety Checklist. Do this for every job you take. Keep the form and a pencil and paper near the phone.
- Have the parents do a safety check with you throughout their house or apartment. Find out where the emergency exit(s) would be in case of fire. Find out if the house or apartment has a smoke alarm or fire extinguisher, or both.
- Know how to work the door and window locks in the house or apartment, and lock them. If you're in a house, leave at least one outside light on.
- If the phone rings while you're babysitting, don't tell the caller that you're alone. Say you're visiting and the child's parent can't come to the phone right now, but you'll give them a message. If anyone 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 that you're visiting and will deliver a message.
- The same rules, of course, apply to daytime as well as night babysitting, with a few additions:
- During the day you might have the child(ren) out in the yard. If you're in back, make sure the front is locked - and vice versa.
- If you take the child(ren) 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 are locked before you leave.
- It is a good idea to have the child(ren) go to the bathroom before you leave, to help avoid having to use public restrooms.
- When you are out with the child(ren), don't talk to strangers, and, 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 child(ren)'s home, if anything seems unusual - a broken window, a door ajar, a moving truck parked outside - don't go in. Go to a neighbor and call the police. For that matter, if, at any time while you're babysitting, you're uneasy or suspicious about something you see or hear, don't hesitate to call the police.
In an Emergency
- If you suspect a fire, get the child(ren) and yourself out. Go to a neighbor's and call the fire department, and, if you've been able to take the Safety Checklist with you, call your employer and let them know where you and the child(ren) 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 employer returns home, report on what happened, especially if there was anything you considered 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 employer won't drive or walk you home - or if he or she seems intoxicated - ask someone at your house to come and get you. Never go home alone at night from a babysitting job.
Keeping Babysitting Safe Babysitting Safety Checklist
- Phone Number:
- Where Parents Will Be:
- Emergency Friend or Relative:
- Child (ren)'s Doctor:
- Allergies / Medications:
- Special Instructions:
- For additional information call our Crime Prevention Officer at 610-623-0700.
- Police and Fire 911