As more and more parents in today's society are working, many children are being left in the care of older siblings or in the care of babysitters. One of the biggest dilemmas that parents face is selecting a good babysitter. While many parents rely on friends and family, others are forced to search among total and complete strangers for quality childcare.
One way that parents can increase the odds of getting a quality babysitter, is to check whether or not the babysitter they are considering is certified.
This fact sheet is designed to help parents understand the importance of hiring certified babysitters. Look for additional fact sheets on: Selecting a Good Babysitter and The Babysitting Certification Program.
Certified babysitters, unlike regular babysitters, are individuals who have received specialized training in babysitting duties and responsibilities. Typically, certified babysitters attend a 3-session (two hours each session) training program, which prepares them to provide appropriate childcare.
While all babysitters ideally supervise and provide care for children, certified babysitters are specially trained in the following:
According to Ralph M. Shenefelt, General Manager of the American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI), "Parents need to know that the babysitter - no matter what his or her age - is prepared for any emergency that might arise in their absence." Additionally, Mr. Shenefelt notes that, "While experience is important, it's not enough that someone has been watching children for years or that they have raised their own children. People who watch children should be professionally trained to deal with medical emergencies."
Parents who hire certified babysitters should expect them to be professional as well as prepared, with some quality training ages and stages of development. As a result of their extensive training, certified babysitters are equipped with basic childcare information and are more likely to be better prepared to handle emergency and/or crisis situations. Additionally, the CPR and First Aid training helps make certified babysitters better prepared to handle more medical emergencies.
While it could be helpful to parents for program personnel to keep a list of certified babysitters, the high cost in time and other resources makes it rather prohibitive to do so. In addition, it is difficult to keep track of such participants, identifying who is active and who is not interested continuing to be on the list. It is easy, however, for parents simply to ask prospective babysitters what training or certifications they have before hiring them to watch your children. In addition, with an adolescent the parent knows and likes, it also would be easy to encourage the young person to complete a certification program to better prepare them to watch children. Thus, on the last page of this fact sheet, agencies are listed that provide such certification programs.
The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers a Babysitting Certification Program. There is no charge for the certification in babysitting; however there may be a fee for CPR and First Aid Certification, which is included in this Program.
The American Red Cross also offers a Babysitter Certification Program. Certification fees are $50; however, this fee does not include CPR and First Aid Certification. To receive more information, please contact the American Red Cross, 3720 West Oquendo, Las Vegas, Nevada 89118, or call (702) 791-3311.
The Andre Agassi Boy's and Girl's Club has offered a Babysitting Certification Program. There has been no charge for the program, but it usually does not include CPR and First Aid certification. To receive more information, please contact the Andre Agassi Boy's and Girl's Club, 800 North Martin Luther King, Las Vegas, Nevada 89106, or call (702) 631- 4998.
Extension's Communication Team
Clark, M., Caldera, Z., and Leigh, G., 2004, The Benefits of Employing Certified Babysitters, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno, FS-04-64
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