Essential Babysitter First Aid and Emergency Skills

As much as we want the babysitter to make the kids happy and keep them fed, that's not really why she's there. The babysitter is there to call 911 at the appropriate moment and to make sure the kids don't kill each other.

Childminder and baby boy playing with tambourine
G. Mazzarini / Getty Images

When your kids are in trouble and you're out of the house, your babysitter is the only lifeline they'll have. Before you leave your kids with them, you need to make sure they have the training and the guts to get your kids through any real emergency they might have.

Follow the links below and print out each article. Put them together as a reference for your babysitter.

It Has to Be OK to Call 911

The last thing your babysitter wants to do is screw up this babysitting gig. They don't want to raise a ruckus or look like they're overreacting. Depending on how they were raised, calling 911 might not even be in their playbook. This is one reason you want them to take a babysitting class.

You must let them know that 911 is a resource. Tell your babysitter it's OK to call 911 if they think it's an emergency or even if they're not sure. The younger your babysitter is, the more intimidated they're likely to be. Tell them you expect action, and overreacting is better than under-reacting. Help your babysitter understand when to call 911 and what they should know about calling 911 from a cell phone.

They Need to Know CPR

Any good babysitter needs to be ready for the worst-case scenario. There isn't a case worse than a baby not breathing. You want your babysitter to know what to do and not to be afraid to do it. Make sure there's a quick reference for child CPR available, but remember it's not a substitute for proper training.

Responding to Choking

If your babysitter is going to feed your children, they need to know what to do when they choke on dinner. Your babysitter cannot hesitate if your kid is choking. Review what to do if a baby is choking and the Heimlich maneuver for older children. If they have a blank look on their face, you need to send them back to training or get a new babysitter.

They Need Information to Tell the Paramedics

The babysitter will be the only person available to communicate with first responders. It's important that they have the kids' important medical information. Write it all down and keep it in a convenient location to give to the paramedics.

Not Every Emergency Is Medical

Medical emergencies aren't the only kinds of catastrophes a babysitter must be ready for. Fires happen. Make sure your babysitter has all the information needed to get the kids out safely. We don't recommend having them use a fire extinguisher; it's just one more decision that might slow them down. Your babysitter needs to react quickly to a fire and get everyone out. Then, they must call 911.

They Should Also Know How to Handle the Little Things

If you want your babysitter to react correctly to the big stuff, make sure they know how to handle the little stuff. If they can put on a bandage and take out a splinter, they can take care of the little things for a few minutes at least until you can be contacted.

Good things to review include:

Your Babysitter Needs Training

Don't count on your babysitter to do any of these things without taking a real class. All these tips should be nothing more than review for your fully trained babysitter. If you have someone in mind that really gets along great with your babies, send them to school.

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