Guest Post by Lindsay M: I receive a lot of emails throughout the week and always welcome them from new readers or even writers. A few weeks ago I received an email from Lindsay and she wanted to share some parenting and health knowledge with my readers. Obviously there is a lot of advice out there, but being prepared for water safety is always an important one. Please read and share! Have a happy and safe summer! 🙂
Can Your Babysitter Handle an Emergency?
I love spending extra time with my kids during the summer. In fact, this year I even created a summer “bucket list” of activities for us to try before school starts back. And while I certainly love having my kids home from school, it does mean that getting some of my usual chores and errands done becomes a little more challenging. And that’s why each year my husband and I are sure to have a trustworthy babysitter on call.
We give our babysitter the freedom to choose what activities she’d like to do with the kids. And often, she takes them swimming because that’s what they love to do most. It took me a while to get comfortable with the idea of the babysitter watching the kids at the pool. In fact, we even paid for her to become CPR certified just to help put my mind at ease.
Is your babysitter prepared to handle an emergency at the pool?
Here are a few things to consider:
Can they recognize the warning signs of drowning? When we think of someone drowning, we imagine them calling for help and waving their arms. But the scary reality is that often this isn’t the case. In fact, a Reader’s Digest article on the quiet signs of drowning notes, a child drowning struggles to make any sound and may not be able to make any motion to a caregiver to indicate they’re in trouble. Make sure your sitter understands that constant supervision is necessary when she has your kids at the pool.
Are they trained in first aid? Of course, one of the best ways to ensure your sitter is prepared to handle emergencies is for them to get first aid training. Care.com provides advice for babysitters on where and how they can become first aid and CPR-certified. As I noted earlier, my husband and I paid for our sitter to become CPR-certified, and I think it was money well spent. I get so much peace of mind knowing that she’d be able to perform CPR on one of my kids if needed.
Do they know the proper steps to take in a water rescue? Water rescues can be very dangerous. Australia’s Royal Life Saving Society points out that the person making the rescue can quickly find themselves in trouble if the proper steps aren’t taken. The Society provides a fact sheet that explains the 4 A’s of rescue—Awareness, Assessment, Action, Aftercare—and how to make a rescue when needed.
Are they aware of pool safety risks other than drowning? Drowning isn’t the only danger when your kids are at the pool. Make sure your babysitter also knows about other potential safety hazards, such as drains. CBSNews.com explains these dangers in this news report – such as a child’s limb or clothing can easily be sucked into a drain that isn’t properly covered. Make sure your sitter knows to check all the drains before they let your children in the water.
Will they enforce basic safety rules? The best way to prevent an emergency is to make sure children are following the pool’s rules. This article on how to keep guests safe at a pool party lists a few essentials—such as no diving, no dunking, and no running. Make sure your sitter is comfortable with enforcing these rules and with putting in place a “lifeguard time-out,” as the article suggests, if one of your children or a visiting friend gets out of hand.
I want my kids to have a fun summer, but I also want them to be safe. As parents we can go a long way toward making that happen simply by hiring qualified babysitters who know what to do in an emergency.
Lindsay M writes for PublicHealthCorps. She also has many other passions – like cooking, biking and photography. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of twin girls.
*Above image taken from Flickr