Babysitter's Guide to First Aid

While in high school, babysitting might sound like an easy way to make some extra cash. Depending on the age of the children in your care, it can be as simple as making sure they are fed, entertained, and, if necessary, tucked away in bed. Unfortunately, what seems like a relatively easy job can quickly turn into a nightmare if an emergency happens and a child is injured. When a child is hurt or unconscious, knowing what to do and taking quick action is crucial. For that reason, it is important that babysitters get the proper education on how to administer CPR and first aid to children and infants.

Learning CPR and First Aid

Teenage babysitters aren’t old enough to have a nursing degree, but you don’t need to be a nurse in order to babysit a child, whether that child is an infant or a preteen. However, first aid and infant and child CPR training can make you stand out from other teens interested in the job and boost your confidence. These training classes are a way to prepare for how to administer and recognize the need for rescue breathing and chest compressions. You can also learn what to do under specific circumstances or for specific injuries, such as cuts, burns, or falls. Check with hospitals, fire departments, CPR instruction companies, or community centers for the availability of first aid and CPR classes and their age requirements.

First Aid Kits

There are few tools of the trade when it comes to babysitting, but a first aid kit is an invaluable must that allows you to administer first aid if and when it is needed. When babysitting a child in their home, make sure to ask the parents where the first aid kit is located. This is important to prevent wasted time if a child is injured. Babysitters can also create a first aid kit specifically for babysitting jobs. This should contain bandages of various sizes for scrapes, alcohol and antiseptic wipes, tweezers, latex gloves to protect your hands, and a mouth guard for administering CPR. Antibiotic ointment is another useful item to keep in a first aid kit for babysitting, but confirm with a parent that you can use it if needed.

What to Do in an Emergency

In the event of an emergency, the best thing that any babysitter can do is stay calm. If a child is hurt, they and any siblings will also be frightened. Panic from an authority figure can make the child or children panic, too, and make it difficult to take the proper actions. The first thing that a babysitter should do is to assess the situation and the child to get an idea of what the injuries are. If the child has an injury in which they are bleeding profusely, have a broken bone, or are unconscious, then emergency medical services will need to be contacted. If possible, have someone call 911 and stay with the injured child. If you’re alone, go quickly to retrieve a phone and return quickly to the child. Call 911 immediately and provide the dispatcher with the requested information. You will need to give them your name, the complete address of where you are, and the age of the child and explain clearly what the child’s injuries are. If any first aid has been administered, you should tell the dispatcher at this time. The dispatcher will help you give any first aid that’s needed and tell you when you can hang up the phone. Any first aid care should continue until medical emergency services arrive. It is also the babysitter’s responsibility to notify the parents in the event of an injury or any emergency situation, even if 911 has not been called. If you’re unable to reach the child or children’s parents, an alternate contact should be notified in their place.