Babysitting Safety

Safety Tips for Babysitters

Babysitting safety is the most important part of a babysitter's job.

Every babysitter needs to know how to keep themselves and the kids they watch safe. They need to know what to do in an emergency or even just a small household accident.

While accidents may not be common, they can happen at any moment even in a babysitting situation. The parents and kids are relying on the babysitter to be prepared to handle accidents and emergencies.

The babysitting safety tips and general information below provides a good foundation for the young child care provider. If you are a babysitter, please read through the questions and tips below. If you are the parent of a babysitter (or the parent of kids needing a babysitter), please use the following as a good starting point to help prepare the prospective babysitter.

Babysitting Safety - Emergency Form

You should have an emergency form filled out for every babysitting job you do - no exceptions. This form can be filled out by the parents in advance or right at the beginning of your job. But it must be filled out before the parents leave.

This babysitting safety and emergency form should include basic information, such as:

  • Where or how the parents can be reached in an emergency. This can be their cell phone number(s) and/or the name and number of the restaurant or other venue where they will be. You should get at least the names of the places the parents will be going during their time away even if you have the cell phone number.
  • Local emergency contacts other than the parents. This can be the next door neighbor or a grandmother. This is someone who can assist immediately in case the parents cannot be reached or return home quickly.
  • Emergency numbers for fire, rescue, ambulance, poison control and family doctor.

Use this free babysitting emergency contact form to write down all these important phone numbers in one place.

You can leave one copy with the parents and keep one copy with you when you leave. The copy you keep can then be used the next time you work for those parents (in case they do not have theirs). This babysitting safety form helps show that you are taking your babysitting job seriously as well as caring about the kids.

On the Job Babysitting Safety Tips

There are some basic on-the-job babysitting tips you can use to keep things running smoothly. Not only do these help ensure safety, they will also make the job easier overall because there will be fewer things to worry about.

Before the parents leave . . .

  • Have the parents show you all the doors and windows and how to function any alarms or locks that are unique.
  • Know the location of first aid supplies and fire extinguishers.
  • Ask if the family has a fire safety plan. Be sure that you and the kids know it.
  • Get the basic house rules. Can the kids play outside? What appliances should be used?
  • Know or find out what is expected of you. Will you need to cook or serve a meal? Is there any homework or chores the kids need to do? Will you need to bathe the children? What time should the children go to bed? Are there any medicines that will need to be administered?
  • Get the background on the neighborhood if you are not familiar with it.

After the parents leave . . .

  • Check the windows and doors to make sure they are all secure.
  • Keep a close eye on the children. Never leave a child unattended. You don't have to hover over them every second, but it doesn't take long for a kid to slip away. Even if they are in bed, it is still a good idea to check on them occasionally.
  • Have a basic plan for what babysitting activities or other things (such as eating dinner) that you are going to be doing during the babysitting job. Kids like some sense of routine and having an outline of ideas will help you too.
  • Do not answer the door to strangers and never tell callers that you are alone. These are the same basic safety tips you'd follow at home, not just while doing babysitting jobs.
  • Clean up as you go. Leaving the house in a mess does not leave a good impression on the parents. And while your first priority is the kids, taking care of the house and property is also part of your responsibility. You can make it a game with the kids to clean up so it will go faster for everyone.
  • HAVE FUN! Yes, this is a job. But it should still be entertaining for you and the kids.

At the end of the job . . .

Once the parents have returned, give them a quick recap of the night. It doesn't need to be an in-depth review of every minute, but let them know how things went and don't focus on just the babysitting safety guidelines you followed. Tell them the personal stuff they want to hear. Did the kids eat well? Did they get their homework done if that was needed? Were they bathed? What time did they go to sleep? Did anything odd or funny happen?

It is important to have open communication with the parents even though it can be hard to talk to certain adults. They need to feel comfortable with you, and talking with them is a big part of that. If they know that you've been practicing basic babysitting safety, they will feel even more at ease.

Finally, be appreciative that the parents trusted you to care for their children. Don't just take the money and run. Let them know if you enjoyed watching the kids and if you are available for future babysitting jobs and referrals. This is part of running your own business - even if you are only doing it once a week or month. Find even more ideas for turning these babysitting jobs into your own business here.