Babysitting is a great way for teens to make some extra money, usually while having fun at the same time. Opportunities to babysit are even more plentiful in the summer, when kids are out of school and parents are at work.
Although all babysitters hope they will never have to encounter any kind of emergency while babysitting, every babysitter should know how to handle an emergency in the event that one arises. Remaining calm and knowing what to do could be the difference between life and death.
First of all, make sure you are prepared. This is the best way to handle an emergency. The better prepared you are, the better your chance of being calm and knowing how to handle any emergency that may arise. Take a safe sitter course from your local YMCA or Red Cross branch, or get CPR certification. Make sure you know what to do if a child is choking, and know basic first aid, like how to disinfect and bandage a cut or scrape or what to do for a bee sting.
Before the parents leave, be sure the number where they can be reached, as well as cell phone numbers, are written down clearly. Have the number for poison control handy, and although it sounds obvious, make sure you know where the phones in the house are located in case you need to dial 911. Also, make sure you know if the children have any allergies, so you don’t accidentally feed them something that could make them sick.
It’s also important to provide a safe environment, which will also lessen emergencies. Keep all doors and windows locked when babysitting, and make sure you never leave the stove on. Never leave small children alonenot even to get the phone or doorand make sure they aren’t anywhere near water (even a little bit) to prevent drowning.
In the event that an emergency does occur, the following are some suggestions for how to handle an emergency when babysitting.
Remain calm. This is important. You won’t be able to give the proper care or contact the proper people if you are hysterical or crying.
If a serious injury or medical injury occurs, immediately call 911. It’s helpful to keep your cell phone with you at all times. Be sure to tell them your name, the nature of the emergency, and where exactly you are located. In this case, if you don’t know the exact address, know landmarks by the house. If you can’t leave the side of the child, ask an older child to call 911.
Check for breathing and a pulse. If necessary, administer CPR according to your training. If the child is choking, perform the Heimlich maneuver. (Keep in mind that the Heimlich is different for an infant than for an older child. If you don’t know what to do, don’t attempt it, or ask the 911 operator for help.)
If there is a fire, immediately get all children out of the house. Make sure you know escape routes. Don’t attempt to put the fire out yourself; just get the kids and go to a neighbor to call 911. Never go back in for pets or belongings.
Call the parents. As soon as you have called 911 and gotten help, call the parents.
By being prepared and knowing what to do in an emergency, you can help prevent and handle emergencies while babysitting.