On-the-Job Safety

  • Before the parents leave, ask for the information on the babysitters checklist (PDF). Keep this list near the phone.
  • Have the parents show you emergency exits, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers.
  • Plan a mental fire drill: find more than 1 way to get everyone out of the house in case of fire.
  • Be sure to meet the family dog.
  • Establish ground rules with the parents if you wish to use the internet.
  • Get approval from the parents if you would like to have a visitor.
  • Get the telephone number of where the parents are going.
  • If the house or apartment has a security system, learn how to use it.
  • Know how to work door and window locks, especially if they need a key.
  • Lock all doors and windows and leave an outside light on.
  • Check for hazards the children can find such as matches, lighter fluid, electric cords, plastic bags, medication, or anything that might be dangerous.
  • Ask parents how they want you to handle phone calls.
  • Don’t open the door to strangers or tell them you are there alone. Say you are visiting and will deliver a message.
  • If the children are sleeping, check on them about every 15 minutes.
  • If the children are awake, know where they are at all times and never leave them alone.
  • When you are out with the children, don’t talk to strangers. If you suspect you are being followed, go to a nearby home, store, or gas station and call the police.
  • When you return to the children’s home, don’t go inside if anything seems unusual (broken window, open door etc.). Go to a neighbor’s and call 911.
  • If you ever feel uneasy or suspicious, call 911.
The rules for night time babysitting apply to daytime as well, with a few additions:
  • During the day you might play with the children in the yard.
  • If you are in the back yard, make sure the front door is locked - and vice versa.
  • If you take the children out, make sure you have a house key with you when you leave.
  • Double check all doors and windows are locked before leaving.