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Babysitting advice

sleeping baby

In order to ensure that your children get the best quality care, which is free from harm, it is very important that you select your babysitter carefully.

Who can I leave my child with?
Babysitters do not need qualifications or a certificate to look after children, and as a result, anyone can advertise his or her services as a babysitter.

As parents, you have responsibility for the safety and well-being of your children, including ensuring that they are in the care of a trusted and responsible person, in your absence. As a result, it is important that you think very carefully about the person you are going to leave them with, whether this is a stranger, close relative or a friend.

When you are choosing someone to look after your child it is important that you choose someone with the abilities and high standards that you would expect of yourself. This includes someone who will make sure your children are looked after properly, kept safe, given room to play, feel secure and can deal with difficulties that may crop up.

Here are some useful tips:

  • Avoid leaving your child with someone under the age of 16.
  • An experienced babysitter will have a good reputation locally and can be recommended by a friend or neighbour.
  • Make sure you meet any prospective babysitter personally before you decide to leave your child in their care.
  • When they come to babysit, make sure you talk to your babysitter before you leave to explain any special things your child needs to take to bed with them such as a cuddly toy or an extra feed etc.
  • Let them know when to expect you to be back.
  • Ensure that they know what to do in the event of an emergency.
  • Make sure they have your contact details in case of emergencies.

What's the minimum age for a babysitter?
Children’s Law Society and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Children recommend that the minimum age of a babysitter should be 16 years of age. This is based on the idea that at 16 and above, an individual is much more aware of potential dangers and risks and could seek help quickly if necessary. This age limit is also linked with the possible action which could be taken by the police if anything were to go wrong and an injury resulted. It is most likely that you as a parent would be held responsible if anything goes wrong if your babysitter is under 16 years of age.

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