Can Your Child’s Babysitter Handle an Emergency?

North Memorial Better Health Blog Author Logo
March 3, 2017

Most babysitting jobs go fairly smoothly and the worst thing to happen is a fight over who picks the bedtime story. It may be scary to think about “what could happen,” but planning ahead will give you confidence that your child is in good hands in an emergency.

Pick the right babysitter

Interview potential babysitters to ensure they meet your expectations and needs. Questions to ask:

  • Have you taken a babysitting course that includes first aid?
  • Can you change a diaper?
  • How do you deal with crying babies or children?
  • How would you handle an emergency like a fire or a fall?
  • How do you discipline children?
  • Can you provide two or three references?

Require first aid training

Baby sitters should have first aid training and they should also know the Heimlich maneuver and CPR for infants and children.

Show them around and give direction

Have the babysitter arrive 15 minutes before you leave so you can show them around your home.

  • Point out doors that should remain locked, where the fire extinguishers and first aid kit are located and exits in case of an emergency.
  • Write down and discuss routines: meal time, playtime, bath and bedtime.
  • Discuss rules about visitors, leaving the house, cell phone, TV time, smoking and drinking.
  • Pre-measure any medications and give specific direction for how to manage.

Talk about an emergency plan

An emergency plan should be similar to how you’d handle a situation if you were home. Provide documentation so your babysitter doesn’t forget.

  • Print out a list of emergency numbers and make sure the babysitter has a cell phone and charger if you don’t have a landline.
  • Write down your full address and instruct the babysitter to call 911 in an emergency. Talk about situations when you would call 911.
  • Discuss when it would be appropriate for the babysitter to bring the child to urgent care and when to seek help from an emergency contact or neighbor.

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