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Babysitting basics - what you absolutely need to know.

We can't cover everything that you'll learn from an actual Safe Sitter course, but we can give you a few important pointers on how to be a better, safer sitter.

Before parents leave: Make sure you have the following information:

1. The emergency telephone number (911 in most areas).

2. The name and phone number of a responsible neighbor who plans to be home.

3. Where the parents will be, a number where they can be reached, and when they expect to be home.

4. The address and location of the home where you are sitting, in case you need to give this information to emergency medical staff, police, the fire department, or the poison control center.

5. Make sure your parents know where you are and when you expect to be home. (We've included a form on page 14 for you to copy so you can record this important information.)

Emergencies: There are many minor problems, like bumps, bruises, or skinned knees, that you can handle yourself. But more serious problems, like breathing trouble due to a near-drowning, electric shock, an allergic reaction, or choking, require that you call 911. Other situations when you should call for emergency help include if the child has lost a lot of blood, been badly burned, been poisoned, has suffered a cut on the face or eye, is unconscious, or has stopped breathing.

When you call 911, say, "This is an emergency." Tell the operator the problem, the address and telephone number, and ask what to do until help arrives. If a child has been poisoned, call the poison control center (or 911 if you don't have this number) and follow the same procedure.

Self Protection: As soon as the parents leave, check and make sure all doors are locked. If it's nighttime, close the curtains. Never answer the telephone with the name of the family, and don't tell anyone who calls the address where you are staying. Instead of saying that the parents aren't home, simply say, "They're busy right now -- may I take a message?"

Don't open the door for anyone, unless the parents have told you that a specific person will be stopping by and you can identify that person. If someone comes to the door and claims that there's been an accident or emergency, still do not let them in. Tell the person you will call the police and medical help, but do not open the door. If you hear a prowler, call the police immediately.

Finally, if the parents return and you feel they are unable to safely drive you home (because of drinking alcohol or for any reason), have a prearranged signal with your own parents to pick you up. Tell your employers that your parents were planning to pick you up, then call home and say, "I'm ready to be picked up now."

Babysitting information:

1. Emergency Phone Numbers:

Police: Fire Dept.: Ambulance: Poison Control Center:

2. Responsible Neighbor:

Mr./Mrs. Which house: Phone number:

3. Children's parents can be reached at:

Phone number: They will be home at:

4. Address of the home where you are sitting:

Phone number:

5. Do your parents know where you are and when to expect you home? Yes No

6. Special Notes:

Copy and use this form for your babysitting jobs.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Sep 1, 1997
Previous Article:Becoming a safe sitter.
Next Article:Safe sitter of the year: Jessica Brickner.

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