How to Prevent Medical Emergencies

BabysitterKeep a list of qualified babysitters, and keep in mind that sitters should be at least 12 years old. A good rule of thumb: the younger the child or children being watched, the older the babysitter should be. Ask the sitter for references and call these people before hiring that babysitter.

  • Make sure everyone understands the house rules.
  • Tell the sitter where you will be and leave the number by the telephone.
  • If you have a cell phone, give the sitter the number, and be sure to keep your phone with you and turned on, if possible; if not, check your phone periodically for messages.
  • Sitters should have first-aid training and know the Heimlich Maneuver. They also should know how to do CPR and know where the first-aid kit is located. Review these items with the sitter before leaving. 
  • Make sure the sitter knows how to access emergency medical services such as the ambulance or local hospital. Explain how to use 911 or your local emergency services number. Put the number of the national poison control center near your phone: that number is 800-222-1222. Keep your address printed on the phone so they babysitter can quickly tell emergency personnel where you are located. 
  • Tell the sitter the shortest route to the nearest hospital, in case he or she must drive there. If the sitter does not drive, make arrangements with a neighbor whom you know will be home and who could drive to the hospital in an emergency. Explain that they use the “Emergency Department” entrance and make sure they know where it is.
  • Leave a list of children’s current health problems, medications or treatments and allergies, and make the sitter aware of any medical jewelry. 
  • If the sitter has to give medications, measure them in advance or have the sitter practice measuring them until you’re sure it can be done properly.
  • Give the name and number of one or more neighbors who can be called quickly and whom you know will be available to step in and provide help. 
  • Explain the “consent to treat” form in this booklet. Use it by signing it in front of the sitter. Tell her or him to take it to the hospital in an emergency.

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