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What You and Your Babysitter Need to Know

Home & Community Safety, Youth Safety

Babysitting is often a young person’s first paid employment, and a wonderful way for youth to help family friends and neighbours while earning a bit of pocket money on the side. As a parent, how can you be sure your local teenager is a good babysitter? And what can you do to be a good employer?

What to look for in a babysitter?

A good babysitter enjoys interacting with children, is mature enough to handle the responsibility, and possesses good judgement. Even if your babysitter has come recommended, or is the child of a friend or neighbour, don’t hesitate to interview him or her about any past experience and training they may have. Does he know how to handle a baby who won’t stop crying? Does she know what to do in an emergency? If hiring a younger teen, communicate directly with the babysitter’s parents too – will they be home while you are out?
If this is your first time hiring a new babysitter, consider first doing a “dry run”. Perhaps you can hire the babysitter to watch your children while you do tasks around the house and yard. This will help you assess the young person’s abilities before leaving your children with them for the first time.

Your Responsibilities as the Employer

  • Arrange for the babysitter to arrive at least 10 minutes before you have to leave so you have time to introduce the him or her to your children and pets, and give a tour of your home.
  • Let the babysitter know where you will be.
  • Leave emergency telephone numbers, including neighbours who can provide assistance, and the number at which you can be reached.
  • Brief the babysitter about allergies or other medical information.
  • Make sure the babysitter knows when to use 9-1-1 if it applies in your area.
  • Show where the first aid supplies are kept.
  • Indicate what TV programs, music or computer games are allowed. If you connect to the Internet through a telephone modem, don’t allow the Internet to be used while you are away.
  • Establish rules regarding visitors, whether it be the babysitter’s or the children’s friends.
  • If required, explain how to use certain appliances.
  • Outline the routines of your household, like bedtimes, snacks, chores, activities and homework.
  • Ensure the babysitter has transportation to and from home.
  • Let the babysitter know what time to expect you home, and phone if that changes.
  • If leaving for more than an hour, call the babysitter at least once while you are out to check on how things are going.

Training Course

The Canada Safety Council has been a leader in babysitter training since 1970. The Canada Safety Council Babysitters’ Training Course provides the knowledge and skills needed to become a responsible babysitter, skills that will serve the students well into adulthood. The program is designed for students 12 years old and up who are willing to dedicate ten hours of their time to receive certification as a trained babysitter.

By taking this course, young people show their commitment to gaining knowledge and skills to handle the many challenges of babysitting. If your child is 12 years of age or older, encourage him or her to take babysitter training.

For more information please contact Canada Safety Council at (613) 739-1535.

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