Parents looking for a fill-in baby sitter on New Year’s Eve need to be extra vigilant, according to a new report.
Parents aren’t giving substitute babysitters the resources they need to handle emergency situations, a national poll by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan suggests. Experts agree that this could pose problems around the holiday season, when parents’ go-to babysitters — who already know parental protocols — may be busy.
Only 48 percent of polled parents gave their fill-in sitters key emergency contact information and only 47 percent made sure to pass along the child’s doctor’s number. Even more alarming, parents who lived more than 15 miles away from an emergency room were less likely to post contact info than parents who lived closer.
“Parents shouldn’t assume sitters have all of the information they need,” poll co-director Sarah Clark writes. “They should go over basic information whether they will be gone all day or just a couple of hours.”
Clark advises parents to give their sitters contact information and explain their preferences on how to handle various emergency situations. Leaving a first aid book and articulating preferences for a certain hospital or emergency room also helps.
“Babysitters may face a wide range of situations while [caring] for a child, from common injuries to more severe emergencies,” Clark says. “Parents should be thoughtful about the guidance they give to make sure sitters are prepared.”