When I get a babysitter for my son, what kind of information should I make sure to leave in case of an emergency?
Although emergencies are rare, it’s best for you and your babysitters to be prepared. Talk with your babysitter about preventing and preparing for emergencies, and write down clear instructions.
What kinds of emergencies might you encounter? Probably the most common emergencies are: injuries (such as falls, choking, cuts, poisoning, or burns), illnesses (such as vomiting, allergic reactions, or asthma attacks), and natural disasters (such as earthquakes, fires, or severe storms).
Start by asking the babysitter about her own preparation for dealing with emergencies: what kinds of emergencies has she dealt with? Has she recently taken a class in pediatric first aid and CPR? Does she know what to do if your baby or child is choking on a piece of food or a toy? What would she do if a fire started in the kitchen?
Make sure you give the babysitter a good orientation to your child and to your home. Let her know your guidelines for preventing emergencies, e.g., the safe play areas for your child; how to heat bottles or cut up food safely; and keeping medicines, small objects and sharp items out of reach. If your son has any medical conditions, such as allergies or asthma, be sure to explain and give the babysitter a written description of foods to avoid, signs of an attack, medications to give, and when to call emergency medical services. Also, orient the babysitter to the location of the phone and fire extinguisher, how to exit your home in case of fire, and what to do in case of an earthquake or storm.
Finally, be sure to leave a list of emergency telephone numbers for your babysitter, including: your cell phone number or the telephone for the restaurant or friend’s home where you’ll be; other emergency contacts such as a neighbor, friend, or relative; emergency medical services, fire, police, and poison control; and your child’s doctor and medical insurance plan number.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.