You’ve decided to earn extra money baby-sitter, and you think it will be easy. How about viewing it as taking responsibility for another human being?
Since accidents are the greatest cause of injury and death in infants and children, you have a little planning to do before you assume this new responsibility.
TIPS to be super baby sitter
Be sure the parents give you full instructions, including:
* Where the parents can be reached
* Emergency numbers for the fire department, police, Poison Control Center, doctor, hospital, and a neighbor or relative
* The location of all exits from the home in case of fire and the locations of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms
* Instructions on the food and any medication for the child
* The location of a first aid kit, flashlight, blankets, and syrup of ipecac in case of poisoning
* Restricted play areas such as bathroom, garage, basement, or kitchen because of hazards found in these areas
* Bedtimes, favorite stories, and TV regulations
In case of fire, you should get the children out of the house immediately without stopping to dress them, make a phone call, or gather items. Go to the nearest neighbor and call the fire department from there as well as the parents. (It helps if your list of phone numbers is portable.
Never leave the children alone, even for a minute to answer the phone. In addition, do not become distracted by phone calls, TV, or visitors and allow the children to be alone. Remain awake at all times.
Do not open the door to strangers. If you hear a sound you cannot identify, call neighbors or police.
Be sure to watch the child and the surroundings; this includes weather conditions, hazards, other children, strangers.
If possible, become trained in first aid and CPR before beginning a baby-sitting career. There are even baby-sitting courses you can take that offer appropriate training. These courses also may help improve your chances of being selected as a family’s baby sitter.
Beyond the routine, here are some special instructions and concerns related to the age of the child (children) in your care.
Baby sitter need to know about children
Infants up to 6 months
Infants are completely helpless and need close attention. Even when they’re sleeping they should be checked at least every half hour. Be sure the face is free of covers; do not give infants a pillow. When handling an infant, it is wise to remove all jewelry and place it out of reach, along with any other hazardous items that could wind up in the child’s mouth.
When you pick up an infant, support the head. Do not leave an infant on a surface from which it could fall. Place the baby in the crib any time you must leave the room. Do not prop a bottle up to the baby’s mouth to feed him or her; the baby could choke. To check a baby’s temperature, feel the arms and legs or body rather than the naturally cooler hands. Be sure no toys have detachable parts that could find their way into the baby’s mouth.
Babies 6 to 12 months
At this age, babies become more mobile. They can roll over, push themselves backwards and forwards, and may sit up or crawl; some even walk. This increases your responsibility because they want to get into everything they see. Be aware of new hazards such as electrical cords, matches, lighters, electrical outlets, poisons such as cleaners in low cabinets. Any time the baby is out of the crib, highchair, or playpen, he or she will require constant attention.
Children 12 to 24 months
Now these tykes are really on the move. They can climb, poke, probe, even open and close things. Anything in sight can be attractive to them. If there are safety gates at the top of stairs, be sure they’re closed. All electrical outlets are a potential danger unless they have safety caps. Children this age begin climbing, and are very susceptible to falls. They also can reach and pull things off surfaces, like appliance cords, tablecloths, and dishes. Watch out for plastic bags that can smother children. Low shelves also are fair game and should not contain anything dangerous or breakable.
Children Ages 2 and 3
Children this age are particularly adventurous and independent. Expect them to be able to open doors (even locked ones), run into the street, take things apart, work lighters and even light matches, climb up to and out of windows, or fall down stairs. You’ll need to be constantly with these children. They can dart into the street in a flash, so hold hands near traffic.
Children Ages 4 to 7
At this age children gain mobility by riding tricycles and wagons, so watch out on hills. They may be able to roll faster than you can run. They also are good climbers, and often families have swing sets in the yard for this purpose. But be sure to watch closely. The good news is that by this age, children can understand the meaning of “no,” pick up their toys, color and draw, and love to be read to. The kitchen with its stove, electrical appliances, knives and utensils, household cleansers, and insecticides is still a danger zone.
Even the bedroom can be risky if it contains cosmetics, sewing kits, scissors, pills, or pins. The bathroom is especially dangerous to 4- and 5-year-olds. Children can lock themselves in, so remove the key or tape the lock.
Outdoors, be cautious about wading pools and even buckets of water. Drowning can occur in as little as 6 inches of water. Supervise all play areas.
In case you are totally freaked out by all these hazards, baby-sitting is fun if you think and plan ahead. You can build a trusting relationship with a child who looks forward to your time together, and earn some extra cash.
The more you know about safety and accident prevention, the better and more confident you will be at the job. Baby sittier is a big responsibility. Be prepared to handle the what ifs