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September 22, 2018

Important Safety Tips Your Child’s Babysitter Needs to Know Before You Go

By Kelley Parris, Executive Director of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County

Safety tips for your babysitters

Finding the perfect babysitter can be a nerve-wracking process, but it’s worth it when you find the person who can give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your little ones are in good hands.

It’s important to understand your babysitter’s approach to safe sleeping environments and attentiveness to prevent drowning. Share these tips with your babysitter to help them be prepared to take the best care of your child:

Create a safe sleeping environment

Unsafe sleep practices, including co-sleeping, continue to be the leading cause of preventable infant deaths. Help your babysitter take these important steps to decrease the likelihood of infant suffocation from an unsafe sleep environment:

  1. Follow the ABCs of safe infant sleep. The safest way for infants to sleep is Alone on their Backs in a C Stuffed animals, toys, pillows and blankets should remain outside of the crib as they increase the risk for suffocation.
  2. Never let anyone co-sleep with an infant. More infants die in adult beds than anywhere else. In fact, infants are 40 times more likely to die in an adult bed than in a crib. This is because infants can get stuck in blankets or pillows, which increases the risk of suffocation due to their lack of neck muscle control.
  3. Prepare for when a child will not be sleeping at home. If your child will not be at home, make sure they have the proper sleeping arrangements of a crib or Pack ‘n Play with a fitted sheet. Infants should never be placed on a blow-up mattress, recliner or couch, even if it is temporary.

Be water safe in all areas to prevent drowning

Drowning can happen to any child, anywhere, at any time. It’s not limited to pools and beaches – there are potential hazards in and around the home that can put children at risk.

Share these drowning prevention tips with your child’s babysitters:

  1. Always have a “water watcher.” Lack of adult supervision is the main reason children die from drowning. An adult should always watch children at all times when they are in or near water, and avoid distractions such as texting.
  2. Never rely on flotation devices. Flotation devices, such as water wings, inner tubes or even life vests should be used only in conjunction with close adult supervision. Infants and toddlers should always be accompanied in the water by an adult who is within arm’s reach, even if the child is using a flotation device.
  3. Be aware of hidden hazards. A child can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Everything from a bucket to a pet’s water bowl can pose a drowning risk. Always empty bathtubs when they are no longer in use and keep bathroom doors closed.

These are important life-saving tips that all babysitters should know.

For more information on these tips, visit www.preventneedlessdeaths.com.