Safety with the Baby Sitter

A young girl, seen in profile, peering out a window. We can see a double reflection of her in the glass, and a blur of greenery outdoors beyond.

Leaving clear, detailed instructions for your baby sitter is a good way to keep your child safe – and ease your mind – when you’re away. Our tips can help you enjoy a night out or a weekend away.

Coaching the baby sitter

Important phone numbers

  • Post emergency numbers — including for the hospital, doctor and the Oregon Poison Center (800-222-1222) — by your home phone. You may want to ask regular sitters to put those numbers on their cellphones.
  • Have the sitter put your cell number on her phone. Also post it near the home phone.
  • Give the sitter the phone number of where you will be.
  • Give the sitter a neighbor or relative’s phone number in case of emergency.
  • Make sure the sitter knows your address and phone number.

Safety tips

  • Tell your sitter where you’re going and how long you will be gone.
  • Show your sitter where emergency numbers are posted.
  • Show your sitter fire-escape routes, chain or rope ladders for upper-floor windows, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Review the tips on this page with the sitter. You may want to print them out.
  • Have a clear understanding with your sitter about:
    • Pay
    • Use of the kitchen, TV, phone and computer
    • Guests
  • Give new sitters time to get to know your child before you leave.
  • Lock up before you leave.
  • When you get back, ask the sitter about any calls, visitors, emergencies, accidents or unusual occurrences.
  • Escort the sitter home at night.


What to tell the baby sitter

  • Tell the sitter to call 911 right away if:
    • She thinks an injury is severe.
    • There’s a fire of any size.
    • She suspects an intruder.
  • In case of a fire, tell the sitter to get out with all children, then call 911 from her cellphone or a neighbor’s home.
  • Show the sitter where first-aid supplies are.

What to teach your child

  • Have your child tell the sitter about any accident, injury or strange person.
  • Show your child how to call 911. Explain that he should call 911 only when an adult can’t do it.
  • Teach your child her name, address and phone number.
  • Write the emergency numbers, your address and home phone number next to the phone and show it to your child.
  • Teach your child how to give this information when calling an emergency number:
    • My name is:
    • I live at:
    • My phone number is:
    • We have an emergency:

Medications and medical issues

  • Write down the times and doses of your child’s medications. Show your sitter where the medications are. 
  • Tell the sitter about your child’s medical conditions. Explain how she should handle an asthma attack, epileptic seizure or other event.

Care and play safety

  • Review safety for routine care such as baths, diaper changing or putting your baby down for a nap.
  • Tell the sitter which play activities are allowed inside and outside.
  • Tell the sitter what rooms, such as the attic or basement, are off-limits. Lock those doors.