Safety Tips For Babysitters: Keeping Outdoor Play Areas Safe
When the weather is nice or the children are rambunctious, you may spend some of your daytime babysitting outdoors. Outdoor play equipment—swings, seesaws, and slides—can be fun, but can be dangerous too. You'll need to keep a watchful eye on the little ones in your care. Here are some tips on keeping outdoor play areas safe for children.
Children often do the unexpected on playground equipment. They are naturally curious and adventurous. Common hazardous behaviors include:
Hanging "rings" are particularly dangerous to small children. Their heads may be small enough to go through the ring, turning it into a noose.
All children should be supervised when playing on this kind of equipment. Here are some tips:
You can also enlist the help of children. Talk to older children about certain safety rules and why they are important. Ask them to assist you in watching the younger ones. It will help them to understand these rules better. Let children know that any bad behavior (eg, stunts, misuse of equipment) is unacceptable.
Daytime babysitting can also include time in or around a swimming pool, wading pool, or spa. Children are naturally attracted to water. Therefore, you must take precautions at all times to prevent accidents.
Facts About Children and Drowning
Nationwide, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death of children and adolescents. Many children are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms as a result of near-drowning. Drowning is a silent killer. When a child drowns, a babysitter won't hear a cry or even a splash. It can happen very quickly.
Ways to Prevent Drowning
Seconds count. In seconds, a child can leave the house and walk to the edge of the pool. In seconds, a child can drown in only a few inches of water. A child can drown in the few seconds taken to answer a telephone in the house.
To help prevent drowning, do the following:
As a babysitter, you can teach children that safe play can still be fun play!
American Heart Association
American Red Cross
National Safe Kids Campaign
United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
About Kids Health
Canada Safety Council
Safety and first aid. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www2.aap.org/healthtopics/safety.cfm. Accessed May 21, 2012.
5/28/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy statement—prevention of drowning. Pediatrics. 2010 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed May 2012 by Brian Randall, MD