Babysitting Laws

Are there strict babysitting laws that must be adhered to while a child is being cared for? Well, there are no set laws for babysitting however most states do provide guidelines that are strongly encouraged to follow. These guidelines can vary from state to state but generally include recommendations on the following topics:

Age of Babysitter

Though there is no set minimum babysitting age by law, most states do recommend a babysitter to be at least 13-years-old. If particularly young children are being cared for such as babies or toddlers however, it is highly advised that a much older experienced babysitter be present as children of that age require special care.

Babysitting Certification

A babysitting course that teaches you how to care for children safely and responsibly is also highly recommended, especially for younger less experienced babysitters. In addition, parents should insist a babysitter possess at least a basic first-aid course that includes child CPR and choking recovery.

Providing a Safe Environment

Without a doubt the most important factor in babysitting is safety and the best way to keep a child safe is to provide a safe environment for them to play in that is completely free from potential hazards. This includes (but is not limited to) the use of baby gates to block unsafe areas of the house, child safety latches on all cupboards and doors, removal of small objects that a young child could choke on, removal of all plastic bags to avoid potential suffocation, and removal of any string or cords that could result in strangulation. Above all however, the most important thing a babysitter can do to maintain a safe environment is constant monitoring and close supervision at all times.

Avoid Visitors

Though it may be tempting for a babysitter to invite friends over while they are babysitting, this is strongly discouraged. The main issue here again is safety. If a babysitter has visitors over, the potential for that sitter to be distracted is very great. Even if it's just a few seconds, those few seconds of distraction could mean the difference between life and death for a child.

Babysitter Checklist

Lastly, it's advised to create a babysitter checklist that can be left with the babysitter. This checklist should include information on whether your child has any known allergies, medication instructions if applicable, bedtimes, restrictions on any activities including where the children can play, and last but not least a list of emergency numbers (fire, police, ambulance, poison control) along with the parent's contact number.

Regardless of the fact there are no set babysitting laws which govern the act of babysitting, there are recommended guidelines that should be followed not necessarily for legal purposes, but for what's truly important; the safety and well being of your children.