The top priority when seeking a babysitter is to find someone who can keep your child safe and happily entertained.


A good babysitter will:

  • Have the attention span needed to actively watch your child.
  • Have the patience to handle difficult behavior.
  • Be able to keep him/herself and your child safe.
  • Have the presence of mind to stay calm in an emergency.
  • Know when to ask for help.


Before you leave the babysitter with your child:

  • Allow enough time to orient a new babysitter to your child, your home, and your routines.
  • Discuss expectations, additional responsibilities, and family rules.
  • Discuss what to do in case of fire or another emergency.
  • Take the sitter on a tour and show him/her the location of all doors, the burglar/fire alarms, the fuse box, and the first aid kit.
  • Make sure the sitter knows where diapers, clothes, bottles, and other important items are kept.
  • Leave written instructions for warming up food and bottles.
  • Leave a list by the phone with your home’s address and phone number, the number where you can be reached, emergency numbers including Poison Control (800-222-1222), your child’s doctor, and a readily-available neighbor.
  • Include a signed consent form to be used if your child needs medical treatment.

All sitters should be trained in CPR and be aware of your house safety rules. The Red Cross offers a babysitting course for teenage sitters, as does the Park District of Oak Park.