Choosing Babysitters and Childcare
You are a busy and devoted mom, and love watching every new thing your son or
daughter does. It is important, however, to set aside special time for you and
your partner, or just time for yourself. Planning time away from your new baby
means that you will need to find a trusted babysitter to care for your baby like
you would. That may seem impossible, but knowing what qualities you need in a
babysitter will help you to find the best person to take care of your child. The
National Women's Health Information Center (NWHIC) recommends taking the
following steps to familiarize a new babysitter with you, your baby, and your
Tips For Familiarizing A New Babysitter With Child Safety And Your
- Ask if the babysitter knows infant/child CPR and Rescue Breathing.
- Remind the babysitter that infants should not be placed on an adult bed of
- Remind the babysitter to place the baby on her/his back to sleep.
- Be sure that the babysitter knows the signs of illness in an infant
including: changes in skin color, sweating, nausea or vomiting, and
- Show the babysitter where the fire extinguishers are kept, and explain how
they are used.
- Be sure to show the babysitter where the first aid supplies are kept.
- Remind the babysitter to keep all balloons or plastic items away from the
- Instruct the babysitter that children should never be unsupervised in the
bathtub. He/she should take them with him/her if they must answer the
telephone or the door bell.
- Remind the babysitter to keep the bathroom door closed, and the toilet
seat and lid down when not in use.
Familiarity with your House:
- Before leaving, be sure to give the babysitter a tour of the house.
- Ensure that all windows have been closed, and that the babysitter knows to
keep them closed.
- Show the babysitter how to operate your child safety gates, and indicate
where they need to be kept.
- Also show the babysitter where the flashlights are located.
- Make sure that you have put away all sharp items including scissors,
knives, and any other objects that can cause injury.
CHOOSING AND USING CHILDCARE
Many moms today work and rely on child care for their children. Relatives or
family members sometimes take on child-care duties, or children are enrolled in
child-care programs. All parents wish the best start for their children. Child
care is more than just a service that allows parents to work. It is a world that
will affect a child's development in many ways - physically, emotionally,
intellectually, and socially. Finding quality child care that is affordable can
be challenging. Many parents need inexpensive or cost-free day care where they
know their children are safe and are being helped to grow and develop. Parents
can contact their local social service agency (listed in the phone book) for
information about government-sponsored programs such as Head Start and Early
Head Start and other community programs. The National Women's Health
Information Center (NWHIC) recommends taking the following steps to choosing
quality child care.
Steps to Choosing Quality Child Care
Look. Visit several child care homes or centers. Visit the
home or center more than once and stay as long as possible so you can get a
good feel for what the care will be like for your child. Continue to visit
even after you start using the home or center.
Listen. Make sure the place is cheerful and not too quiet,
which can mean not enough activity. Happy-sounding children means they are
involved and busy.
Count. Count the number of children in the group and the
number of staff members caring for them. The fewer the number of children
for each staff member, the more attention your child will get.
Ask. Adults who care for children need knowledge and
experience. Ask about the background and experience of all staff that will
have contact with your child in the home or center.
Be Informed. Find out more about efforts in your community
to improve the quality of child care. Ask if the home or center is involved
in these activities. Consider getting involved yourself.
For additional information, please visit the Children's Health Center.
The above information has been provided with the kind permission of The National
Women's Health Information Center (http://www.4women.gov).
Last Editorial Review: 2/5/2003