||Contact | A-Z Health Index | Events & Meetings|
Oklahoma Safe Kids Coalition
FOR RELEASE: June 20, 2002
Leave Your Child in Safe Hands When Hiring a Sitter
It’s natural to worry when leaving your child with a babysitter. Most of us have heard one or two terrifying stories of abuse or neglect at a sitter’s hands, and you may wonder, “Can I trust this person to be as caring and gentle with my child as I am?” This is a legitimate concern, but stories of shaken babies and abusive nannies may distract parents from a much more common danger - unintentional injury.
"Parents mistakenly believe that if a sitter is reliable and affectionate toward their children, that’s good enough," says Martha Collar, coordinator of the Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition, a program of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. "Unfortunately, these qualities won’t necessarily keep kids safe. Babysitters not only need to know what to do in an emergency, but they also should be able to predict the kinds of dangers kids - especially toddlers - can get into."
Protecting your children from injury should be foremost in your mind when leaving them in someone else’s care. The Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition recommends you discuss your safety concerns with any prospective sitter.
What to ask your babysitter
To help put your mind at ease, interview several prospective babysitters before making a decision. The Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition suggests you consider the following questions when interviewing sitters:
Parents who choose to have a babysitter come to their home may believe this is the safest environment for kids. However, research shows more than 4.5 million children are injured in the home every year. In 1999 alone, approximately 2,100 children ages 14 and under died from unintentional injuries that occurred at home. Most home injury deaths are caused by fire and burns, suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, poisoning and firearms. Nearly 70 percent of these deaths occurred among children ages 4 and under.
Whether you select a family member, a neighborhood teenager or a friend to watch your child, your sitter needs to know safety precautions and how to respond in the event of an emergency. The Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition recommends you take the following steps before leaving your child with a sitter:
If you are planning to leave your child at your sitter's home, make sure you review the information mentioned above and check their home for childproofing first. The time and energy spent on these preliminary steps can make an important difference in your child's well being.
What every sitter should know
By taking a few precautions, your babysitter can help prevent a serious mishap. The Oklahoma SAFE KIDS Coalition recommends you and your sitter review the following safety checklist designed specifically for babysitters.
Keep cribs safe by removing all soft bedding and placing infants on their backs to sleep. Never hang anything on or above a crib with string or ribbon longer than 7 inches. Never place a crib near a window.
Copyright © State of Oklahoma