Leaving your children alone with a babysitter should be a worry-free process. Unfortunately, however, accidents can happen and dangerous situations can arise unannounced.

In those incidences, you want your babysitter to be prepared. For this reason, it is important to do your due-diligence when screening, hiring and onboarding a new sitter. Below are tips and considerations to help keep your child safe.

How to Hire a Babysitter

When you hire a babysitter, you’re entrusting him or her with the safety and wellbeing of your child. Therefore, it is important that you feel comfortable.

First, see if a trusted family member or close friend is up for the job. If no one is available or willing, seek recommendations. When evaluating these options, pursue someone who can demonstrate responsibility and has experience babysitting children of the same age as yours. If hiring someone between the ages of 12 and 15, ask that they complete the American Red Cross babysitting training.

Information to Provide the Babysitter

The next step is to properly educate your babysitter. Ask him or her to arrive 15-30 minutes early so that you can go over details related to your home and child. Before you leave, provide the babysitter with all of the necessary information and resources needed to watch your child, including:

  • A list of emergency contacts
  • Emergency service numbers
  • Poison control hotline
  • Name and phone number of pediatrician
  • Location of first aid kit and supplies
  • Children’s food and drug allergies
  • Any relevant medical information
  • Child’s bedtime and routine

Keep this information well organized. Babysitters should be able to handle any situation that arises by referring to the documents you have left.

Security Technology to Soothe Concern

For increased safety, babysitters should have the ability to arm and disarm the home’s alarm system. To allow this without sharing your home’s main code, consider access control technology, in which babysitters are provided a temporary one.

You may also want to consider interior surveillance cameras, so that you can check in from time to time via remote video feeds to see that everything is running smoothly.

No matter the technology in place, give a quick run-through to your babysitter before departing so that he or she knows how everything works. This is extremely helpful in preventing false alarms caused by user error.

Image Source: Ken Bosma via Flickr