Is your teen thinking about offering his or her time and talent as a babysitter? With many more parents working from home, you may be asking your teen to watch over younger siblings more often. Babysitting is an opportunity to test a wide range of skills, such as childcare techniques, first aid, meal prep and business know-how.
Babysitting is a big responsibility but this may be a good time to put your teen’s skills to the test and help him or her prepare for future babysitting jobs. Here are tips to help teens feel prepared and confident:
Keep parent and emergency contact information close
Teens should always know how to contact the child’s parent or caregiver and have an alternative number as a backup in case of an emergency. It’s helpful to add these phone numbers to your cell phone before they babysit.
Also, make sure the teen adds the American Association of Poison Control Centers to their contacts: 800-222-1222. Your teen should notify a child’s parents immediately if the child is sick or if there is an accident. They will not mind the interruption and should know about any issues as soon as possible.
Be safe around water
While your teen is babysitting, he or she should not allow children to swim or use a wading pool. Small children should be kept away from ponds, pools and other bodies of water. Teens should supervise young children in the bathroom, keep toilet lids down and avoid giving baths while they are babysitting.
Learn first aid basics
Every teen should know basic first aid before accepting babysitting jobs. They can sign up to complete a CPR certification through organizations such as the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
Be cautious of pets
Teens should leave family pets alone while they are sleeping or eating or if they are caring for kittens or puppies. They should allow unfamiliar pets see them and sniff them before they try to pet the animal.
To learn more about future babysitting classes, visit hopkinsallchildrens.org/Community/Babysitter-Safety.
Renisa Martinez is the Safe Kids program coordinator at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Safe Kids Florida Suncoast, led by Johns Hopkins All Children’s, is a coalition of community organizations and partners committed to reducing the frequency and severity of injuries and fatalities to children.