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Baby Sitting

 

By

John Beatty

Fire Education/ Public Information Officer

Maine Fire Training & Education

Here’s a pretty common scene in homes everywhere.  It’s Saturday night and you’ve got a dinner date.  The baby sitter arrives and you inform him or her where you will be, a phone number in case of an emergency and an inventory of what’s in the refrigerator.  You are out the door and the sitter settles into the television or the phone.  Sound familiar?  Well, here’s a little wake up for you.  Have you ever thought about the awesome and overwhelming responsibility this babysitter has just assumed?  You have left the most precious things in your life, your children, in the hands of a young person who will now be making some very serious decisions that will impact you for the rest of your life.

 

Heavy?  I suppose so.  But the safety and well being of your children are heavy items also and you need to protect them no matter what.

 

To be sure your children are safe and secure there are a few things you can and should do.  First, before hiring a sitter make sure you know this person is responsible.  Next, be sure that all the emergency numbers are written down and placed next to the phone.  Go over these numbers with the sitter.  Include the phone numbers of fire and police, the family doctor, ambulance, poison control and of course, a neighbor.

 

Take the sitter on a tour of the house.  Your children may be familiar with the layout of the house but the sitter is not.  Make sure they know their way around.  Show the sitter the location of the fuse box, test the smoke detectors as you go through the house, and be sure they know where all the exits are.

 

Inform your sitter about any medications that must be given, the children’s sleeping habits and what time the children must be in bed.  Tell them about rules such as what they may or may not eat and where in the house they can do this.  You should also talk about rules concerning the sitter such as food, visitors, using the phone or stove, or if smoking is allowed in your home.

 

The sitter should know exactly what to do in case of emergencies such as a fire, an injury such as a cut or a head injury, nose bleed, or any other situation where they may need help.

 

Taking the time to check out your baby sitter can make a great difference to you and certainly to them.  Teenagers who sit regularly to make extra money are usually very dependable and responsible.  So before you leave your children to their care be kind to yourself.  Take a few minutes to check them out.  Your evening out will be much more relaxed.

For more information about baby sitting call your local fire department or go to www.mainefiretrainingandeducation.org.