What if you collapsed? What if there was emergency whilst the children were being babysat?
I realised at a recent course that there are some things I have not been doing to safeguard my children at home enough. I urge all parents and babysitters to read the list below and see what you could also be doing to keep your kids safer.
Getting everyone out of the house
1. Where is everyone? – I have been to jobs at townhouses where the children have already been asleep on my arrival. The parents have told me the kids are upstairs and don’t open their doors in case they wake. If there was an emergency how would I know which doors to open in an unfamiliar house? Always physically show the babysitter where the children are.
2. Would you be locked in? – Safety is great, but we don’t want to be locked in if there is an emergency. Fly screens used to be easy to push out, but security fly screens are fixed, and unable to be penetrated readily. I tell my children to throw something through a window if they need to escape, however some houses have double glazing and shatterproof glass, which makes that option very difficult. Do your children know if they can get out of through the windows if necessary?
3. Deadbolts can be deadly – I have had parents use their keys to lock the door on the way out. As a babysitter, how are we meant to get out unless we have a set of keys as well? If you as a parent collapsed, would your child be able to readily locate the key to let emergency services inside.
In case of Fire
4. Fire extinguishers, how many do you have and where are they? I have a fire extinguisher but it was only when I did a training that I realised that no-one that visits my house knows where it is.
5. Fire blankets, do you have them in the bedrooms? If there was a fire in the house, it would be better for my children to have access to a fire blanket to help escape. Do your children and babysitters know where your fire blankets are kept?
A Medical Situation
6. Is your first aid kit in a logical place? – Bathroom, laundry, kitchen cupboard? What one person classes as a logical place is not necessarily where another person would look for a first aid kit. Never presume a person new to your house will know where you keep your first aid kit. Keep your first aid kit well labelled, well stocked and well known.
7. Location of Epi-pen or convulsion medication – Some medication will not be in the first aid kit, it may be in a fridge or outings bag. If it is the parent that has these items, do the children know where to find them quickly? Always have the location of epi-pens, convulsion and other emergency medication well known.
8. Do you know about good First Aid apps? – In the world of technology, it’s great to have a couple of apps to help out in an emergency.
- First Aid – Australian Red Cross is an app that gives concise info on how to attend to various medical situations
- Emergency+ gives the Emergency Services the details they need to find you.
9. Do you and your babysitters have the apps on the phone and do your children know about them?
Contacting an emergency service
10. Is there always a working phone readily available? Many homes no longer have a landline. If there is an emergency, is there always a phone available for children or babysitters to call out on? Is it charged? Does everyone know you can still call for help even if the phone is code locked?
11. 000 is not the best number from a mobile. It will work, but does everyone know that 112 is the best number to call from a mobile? Is it programmed into your phone and do your children know what it is saved as?
12. Install the Emergency+ app on your phone, even a young child that cannot read can press the app.
13. Who do you dial if it isn’t a 000 call? I have a list of important numbers next to my phone. They include contacts such as my mobile number, Poisons Information, Health Direct, a relative that can be called on quickly and the Kids Helpline. Do you have those numbers readily available?
14. What happens when someone knocks on your door when the kids are home but you aren’t? Do you have a known policy as to what to do when this happens? If a tradie arrives on the doorstep, would you like the babysitter to automatically let them in? What if the kids friends from school come over for a play? Have you discussed who to allow in the house when you are out?
15. Are there triggers that cause a reaction in a person that should be known? There are certain actions and conversations that will cause some people to react in an adverse manner. In the best interests of everyone, these triggers should be conveyed.