Monday, October 31, 2005

Leaving Information For Your Babysitter

The first time you leave baby alone without you, it is likely that you will be nervous. That's normal. One option is to leave for only an hour or so the first time. Have coffee. Take a nice walk. Then come back and get your little one. When you do decide to leave, though, you will need to make sure that you leave the babysitter with the appropriate information. Both of you will feel better, and your little one will be safer.

You should include a sheet with the basic information. Include your cell phone number and the number of a relative who will know what to do in case of an emergency. You also should include the name of your pediatrician and the office phone number. Also, and this may sound silly, but write the baby's name down, especially if it has an odd spelling. You also should include the baby's date of birth, which the sitter may need if he or she needs to call the doctor.

For emergencies, you should leave enough information so that the babysitter will not have to guess about anything. Include the name of the hospital you use. Also put any medical problems your baby has, allergies, or other important medical information. Though it is your worst nightmare, you also need to think about the possibility of the babysitter calling 911. Leave your street address and any cross street or other directions to your house. Do not leave it to the babysitter to determine this information in the middle of a crisis situation.

You will want to include emergency information that is not 911. Sometimes there are incidents that don't count as 911 emergencies but may require contacting someone. Put the phone numbers of the police station (including the precinct number if you live in the city) as well as the fire department and poison control numbers. You may want to include health insurance information as well since there can be problems with being seen without proof of insurance.

You should, of course, give the babysitter the basic information about where you are going and when you plan to be home. Include the phone numbers of the restaurant, theater, or other destination for your date. Let him or her know your basic schedule, but do not feel obligated to stick to it exactly, especially if you have a cell phone.

Before you leave, you should make sure that you have the basic childcare goods, including plenty of diapers and wipes, as well as basic medical items, such as pain reliever and ointment. Show the sitter where these items are before you leave. You can leave information about how to treat minor problems, especially if your sitter is a teenager. You basically need to let him or her know how to treat bumps and scrapes as well as when you think it is okay to give your little one pain reliever.

Remember that it is unlikely that your babysitter will need to contact you. Still, these precautions will help you feel better about the whole situation.

By Julia Mercer

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