Home Safety Tips

When sitting at a home for the first time, the babysitter should obtain important fire and life safety information. Make sure the address is clearly posted outside. Write down the address and post it near the telephone. Make sure the phone has a 9-1-1 sticker. Walk through the home to familiarize yourself with the locations of all rooms. Determine which bedrooms children will be sleeping in and make sure there are two exits from each. Locate all exits from the home. 

Each year, at least one pediatric drowning in Phoenix can be attributed to a babysitter who answered the telephone or spoke with friends while a toddler slipped into the family swimming pool, toilet, bathtub, dog bowl, etc. Injuries may occur to children when the babysitter's attention is elsewhere. A toddler may fall or pull a hot pot off the stove when the babysitter isn't watching. An unnoticed child may take the opportunity to play with matches when the parents have left. 

Although children need you in case of an emergency like fire, injuries, or sickness, they need you for play, too. The good babysitter is a good player. Here are some things children play at and dangers to watch for. 
  • The infant is discovering his body. He likes to throw, hold, drop, tear, grab, roll. Some dangers - puts things in his mouth, helpless in water, and can easily smother.
  • Toddlers are getting into everything. The toddler likes to bang, push, pull, put in, take out, jump, draw, and color. Some dangers - swallowing things, falling, matches and lighters, heaters, poisons, and the stove.
  • From the age of three on, children like active physical games, arts and crafts, blocks, pretend, games of skill, and reading. Some dangers: street dangers, falls, stoves, heaters, matches and lighters.

Bring some things to play with like a notebook, magazines, colored paper, color markers, tape, and a flashlight. Surprises for the children will make the job easy for you and fun for them. Make a game of putting things back in their place. 

Be Safe 
  • Never leave children alone. When they are alone, they can have unintentional injuries with matches, gasoline, the stove, water, poisons, falls, and drowning.
  • Keep matches and lighters locked away from children.
  • Trade sharp and electrical objects for something safe to play with.
  • Keep portable heaters away from play areas, curtains, furniture, and the children as well. Contact burns are common for toddlers, especially if they fall against hot surfaces like space heaters.
  • Don't smoke on the job. Babysitters have caused child deaths by smoking.

Cook Safely 
  • Supervise children when they are in the kitchen. This is the place for injuries with fire and hot liquids.
  • You and the children should wear tight sleeves during meal preparation. Loose fitting clothes can catch fire.
  • Turn pot handles inward on the stove so children can't pull them down.
  • Smother a pan fire with a lid. Never use water.
  • Roll up appliance cords so they can't be pulled down.
  • Put the baby in the playpen if you have a hot pot or drink in hand, so she can't get burned.

First Aid 
For emergency help, call 9-1-1. Call the parents if you have questions about lesser emergencies. Notify the parents about small injuries when they return. 
  • For minor cuts, stop bleeding by applying gentle pressure with a clean cloth. Wash the wound and apply a bandage.
  • Learn CPR. There are any number of emergencies where your knowledge of CPR could arise and be needed.
  • If the child swallows something poisonous, call 9-1-1. Have the container ready so you can read it to the fire department on the phone.
  • Show children how to stop, drop and roll in case their clothes catch on fire. Rolling smothers the flames. Use a blanket or rug if one is on hand. Call 9-1-1.
  • Put cool water on a burn; this slows skin damage. If the skin is already blistered, dead white, brown, or charred, you need emergency help. Call 9-1-1.

Fire Escape Planning 
  • Check smoke detectors.
  • Plan ahead. Know how to get children out of the bedrooms if the front or back doors are blocked by smoke or fire. Make sure you know in advance what all your escape options are.
  • Smoke kills. Shut doors to stop it from advancing.
  • Show children how to crawl under smoke to get better air near the floor.
  • If there's a fire, get everybody out and then call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house.
  • Don't go back to the burning house. Many people are killed returning to a burning building
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