What babysitters should know

Years ago, a teenager was babysitting at a family’s home. Later on, something happened that required emergency personnel.
The 9-1-1 system was not in-service yet in the community, so the sitter had to use a phone book for an emergency number. As well, the sitter did not know the address other than going outside to look at the house number.
The dispatcher looked up the address from the family’s name the sitter gave.
Every year, innocent children are victims of home injuries. Thus, every babysitter must be aware of home safety procedures, fire escape plans, and how to call the fire department, police, ambulance, and poison control.
A babysitter must be prepared to assume the responsibility for the care and safety of another child.
Knowing what to do in the event of an accident or fire, and following proper safety behaviours to prevent potential injuries and fires, is an important part of that responsibility.
Upon arrival at the home, the babysitter should ensure all emergency numbers are written near the telephone. The sitter also should know where the parents/caregivers might be contacted in an emergency.
The home then should be reviewed and a mental fire escape plan developed if the parents do not have one. The plan should include two ways out of each room, how you would handle infants or other children who could not escape on their own, and a meeting place outside the home.
The sitter should know the name of the family’s neighbour, friend, or even a relative who will be at home.
In terms of household safety, babysitters should check the home for any fire hazards. Check the home for matches or lighters within reach of the children, and keep children and combustibles away from any space heaters.
When cooking, always watch the food on the stove; and turn any pot handles on the stove inward so they will not extend over the stove edge.
For fun, review “Stop, Drop, and Roll” and “Crawl Low in Smoke” with any children old enough to understand. This can be done as a game.
Know what to do in case of a medical emergency, including first aid for burns.
Remember, if you never need what you learn about personal safety, you have lost nothing. But if you never learn what you need, you may lose everything . . . your family and your life!
Safety—it starts with you!
Tyler J. Moffitt served with the OPP as well as 15 years as a firefighter and emergency responder.

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