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Baby Sitting

Baby-sitting is a great way to earn money, help neighbors, and gain some job experience. But it's also a big responsibility to be in charge of someone else's children in an unfamiliar home, and it can be a bit scary.

Here are some guidelines to help you be a first-rate baby-sitter:

Getting the Job

  • Know your employer. Baby sit only for people you or your parents know, or for whom you have a personal reference. Answering newspaper ads may not be safe.
  • When someone asks you to baby sit, find out what time the parents expect to be back and tell them how much you charge and whether you have a curfew. Discuss how you will get there and back safely.
  • Leave the name, address, and phone number of where you will be sitting with your parents or a trusted friend. Tell them what time your employer expects to be home.

On the Job

  • Consider taking a short nap before going to work so you will be alert and wide awake on the job.
  • Be sure you know the locations of all phones in the home in case you need one quickly. If there is an emergency alarm system, learn how to use it.
  • Know how to work the window and door locks in the house. Use them! Make sure the outside light is on.
  • Ask about smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. If you are in an apartment, find out where the emergency exits are.
  • Ask about the children's bedtimes, favorite toys and stories, and what they eat. Check on food allergies and medication. Find out what you are allowed to eat and drink.
  • Be sure to clean up after the children and after yourself. Wash all dishes, cups, and utensils that you use, and put all toys back in the proper receptacles.
  • Get permission and instructions on using the video cassette recorder, stereo, and other appliances.
  • Do not tie up the phone talking to your friends. Your employers may want to check in or call about a change in plans.
  • A friend should not come over to keep you company unless your employer agrees in advance that it is okay.

In An Emergency

  • If you suspect a fire, get the children and yourself out. Go to a neighbor's or public phone and call the fire department. Then call your employer.
  • Stay calm. Children probably won't panic if you don't.

Special Tips for Daytime Baby-Sitters

  • If you have children out in the back yard, make sure the front door is locked.
  • If you take children for a walk or to the park, lock all doors and windows before you leave.
  • Never take the children to a deserted park or out alone after dark. Be wary of friendly strangers. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your instincts take the children and leave.
  • If anything seems unusual when you return to the home like a broken window, a screen ripped, or a door a jar - don't go in. Go to a neighbor's home or public phone and call the police. You don't need a coin to dial 9-1-1 or the operator.
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