Sitters Unlimited of Southern CA

safe, licensed, prescreened babysitters, pet-sitters & adult companion care

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Mar
13

How To Get CPR & 1st Aid Certified – Online & On-site Resources

Posted by admin
Being able to tell prospective employers that you’re CPR & 1st Aid Certified is a big plus. The downside is that these courses are expensive ($80 – $120), time-consuming (8+ hours), and can be difficult to find one near you on a date you can attend. We found an option that has worked well for our caregivers for over a decade. When I first found out about on-line CPR/1st Aid courses I was skeptical that they would provide a credible experience so I went through the on-line courses through three different services and I was pleasantly surprised at how thorough they were. Each course took between 30 and 60 minutes and I was able to print out my certification as soon as I passed each course.
Cost: $15
Time Commitment: 30 minutes
Certificate is good for two years.
The Red Cross says that they have both on-line courses and a database of local hands-on courses. Each course comes with unlimited two-year access to the course materials so you can take your time getting through a class, or complete all of the modules all at once, then revisit the materials and refresh your skills as needed.
This is a confusing website that doesn’t make it easy to find the price for the courses or offer a direct route to take a course. After more than an hour cruising this website I never did find out how to actually register for and take the online courses they offer. It is a good resource for on-site courses though.
Cost: $90 – $120
Cost: $18 for both courses
Time Commitment: 30 minutes
Certificate is good for two years.
Cost: $26 for both courses
Time Commitment: 30 minutes

Certificate is good for two years.


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Feb
08

Preventing SIDS

Posted by TKA Guest Post

Note to Parents:

I debated whether or not to post the following article as SIDS is such a scary topic for a new parent. However since recent research has given us some new insights I decided to post this article submitted by one of our Guest Bloggers.


Did you know that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is still one of the leading causes of infant deaths in United States? It has been documented that SIDS usually occur between the ages of 1 month just under 12 months and until recently there is no documented cause of SIDS. Now that some of the risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome have been identified doctors and other medical experts are doing their best though to educate mothers regarding how to avoid SIDS from happening by taking certain precautions.

The predisposing factors for SIDS are the following; alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of prenatal follow-up, premature birth, placing too many garments on or around the baby and placing the baby on his/her stomach when putting to sleep.
You may have noticed that many of the predisposing factors occur prenatally. Extra care can be taken by the mother to prevent SIDS from happening even before the birth of her baby. Take for example smoking; it has been discovered that many babies who died of SIDS had a buildup of nicotine in their systems. Passive smoking is one of the greatest factors for SIDS and therefore should be avoided both prenatally and after birth while around your infant.


Thank you to our Guest Blogger for shedding some light on SIDS. While this is a difficult topic to discuss, especially when there is so much mystery regarding the cause of SIDS, it’s heartening to know that there are some things a mother can do to increase her child’s chances of not falling victim to SIDS.

More Parenting Resources

Oct
27

Tips & Tricks for Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween

Posted by admin

Start talking with your children a few days prior to Halloween to make sure they’re aware of the following guidelines. Quiz them, have them repeat the guidelines back to you. If they’re resistant or rolling their eyes, you may want to consider making a “passing grade” on the Halloween Safety Quiz a requirement for going out on Halloween.

 

Halloween Costume & Decor Safety

Even flame resistant costumes can catch fire, they just don’t burn as quickly as a non-flame resistant costume. So make sure your child uses caution around candles. You yourself can make your own home safer by using battery operated candles and glow sticks in place of candles.

If your child is carrying a prop such as a knife, pitchfork, etc. check to make sure that it can’t hurt someone. If needed, file down rough spots or sharp edges or better yet replace a hard plastic or metal prop with a foam, paper mache or rubber prop.

Steer younger kids away from wearing high heels as part of their costume. Even if they don’t get hurt, tripping and stumbling along will dampen their Halloween fun. If they refuse you may want to carry a pair of flat shoes with you that they can change into once they realize you were right all along.

Attach something to both the front and back of your child(ren)’s costume that is easily identified from a distance and in the dark such as a certain color of glow rings or reflective tape in a pattern. This will help you to keep track of your child(ren) all night long as well as keep them safer. You may even want to put some reflective items on your own clothing.

Face paint is safer than a mask. Even masks that fit well can move and impair your child’s vision.

It’s best to walk with your kids rather than follow slowly in your car, but if you are driving with your kids or stopping to let them out, turn on your hazard lights. This helps to alert other drivers that children may be running to or from your car. And if you are following your children in your car DO NOT use your cell phone to make calls, text or check email. Even though you are going slowly, this is a night when children are running across the street (often without looking) and if you’re attention is on your phone you’re begging for an accident.

 

Going Door to Door Trick-or-Treating Safety

Serve your kids dinner before they go trick-or-treating and they will be less likely to want to gobble candy all night long.

Go with your children to make sure that they go only to homes that you know. If your children are too old for you to go with them, then I would offer that they are too old to go trick-or-treating, but that’s your call.

Never, ever, ever go inside a home, no matter what they may offer or what help they may ask for. An easy way for your child to handle any such requests is to tell the adult that you (the parent) are waiting at the curb and they’ll get you to come help. Rehearse with your child possible scenarios so they are prepared for enticements such as the following:

  • “I have more candy in (a hard to reach place). Will you help me get the candy?”
  • “My cat is lost & I think I hear her in a cupboard but I can’t get to her. Can you help me?”
  • “I’m trying to put up Halloween decorations. Can you hold (something) while I put it up?”

Even if you will be with your children make sure that they understand that they should not walk across a street unless you are right beside them.

Older Kids on Halloween

If your kids are old enough to be going out on their own on Halloween night make sure that:

  • they let you know where they’ll be and at what times
  • they stay with their friends and not go off alone or with just one friend
  • they stay in well lighted areas and not walk through alleys or fields that are not well-populated or well lit

Make sure that your children understand that Halloween pranks such as throwing eggs or hurting an animal are a crime and that if caught doing something like this they can be arrested.

Check the Internet for a map of sex offenders in your area. Make sure you steer your younger children away from any homes in your area and that your older children are warned to stay off certain streets. I would suggest just staying away from an entire street as it is difficult to remember that one house on a certain street should be skipped.

While there have only been a few documented cases of poisoned Halloween candy,  you should still instruct your children not eat any candy until you (the parent) have a chance to inspect it.

  • Make sure that the wrapper in intact.
  • Toss out any homemade treats.

 

Answering the Door to Trick-or-Treaters Safely

Make sure that that your home is well lit from the street to your door. If you need extra lighting consider placing battery operated lights such as tap lights along the walk way. You can find them inexpensively at WalMart and other places.

 

Halloween Party Safety

Refer to the above tips for Halloween Costume & Decor Safety.

If using fake blood make sure that it won’t come in contact with your party go-ers or their food. Most fake blood will stain and should not be ingested.

If you’re hosting a party check with parents to see if their children have any food allergies. Common food allergies are peanuts, dairy and shell fish.

If you are with your child at a large event such as a church party make sure to keep an eye on your children. Entrance to these events is not always limited to church membership and it’s possible that you will not know all the adults that are at an event like this.

If you’re hosting an adult party, keep an eye on guests who are leaving to make sure they are okay to drive. If they are not, ask someone who has not been drinking to drive them home or call a cab.

If pumpkin carving is going to be part of your party activities, supply guests with safety knives that cannot cut skin. If a sharp knife is needed, assign one or two persons to do that part of the carving, or do it yourself prior to the party.

If you’re using dry ice to create spooky effects make sure that it’s kept separate from food. Dry ice can cause serious damage to internal organs if ingested.

Aug
22

What Baby Crib Bedding Do I Need ?

Posted by TKA Guest Post

When you’re expecting a new baby there is so much to learn and do.  You have to get baby clothes, learn about child development, buy and possibly assemble a crib, then buy baby crib bedding for it.  While everyone wants to have the best for their baby, buying the most expensive luxury bedding doesn’t necessarily mean you have gotten what is best for your baby.  Quality baby bedding can be a simple affair since there are only a few things you really need, and several common bedding items to avoid.

Dangerous Bedding

Babies are prone to make random movements in the night.  They also lack the strength, motor skills, and awareness to be able to self correct when their sleeping position is dangerous.  For example, most of us, if we end up face down in our pillow during the night, will automatically turn our heads until we can breathe again without even thinking about it.  Babies don’t have the strength to raise and turn their heads.  For your baby’s safety you should avoid any big fluffy bedding like pillows and comforters that could cover baby’s face during the night and become a suffocation hazard.  They aren’t necessary for baby and he will be better off without them in his crib.  Instead consider buying several sets of pajamas that will keep baby warm enough without having a comforter pulled over her.  Swaddling blankets, or swaddling baby in a receiving blanket, can also be a good alternative to a comforter in the crib.  While pillows are not good for baby, you should buy some bumpers to make sure baby doesn’t hurt himself on the bars of the crib.  Make sure they are held tightly against the frame, and that baby cannot get herself entangled in the ties.

Making Life Simpler

While the only baby crib bedding that is necessary are bumpers, a bottom sheet, and pajamas, there are a few other things for baby’s bed that will make your life a whole lot easier.  Sheet protectors can help you avoid those late night crib sheet changes when baby’s diaper leeks.  They’re little pads that are cotton on one side and plastic on the other.  You can think of them as flat backup diapers to keep diaper leaks off the sheets.  You may also want to invest in baby blankets or security blankets.  If you tuck all of the edges under the mattress, it won’t pose a danger to baby and can help give your baby a sense of security by always being there when it is bedtime.

Aug
05

Babysitting Tips: List of Do’s & Dont’s

Posted by admin

When a parent looking to find a babysitter posts a “babysitter wanted” ad what do you suppose they’re looking for in a babysitter? Well after you talk over your babysitting rates and you arrive at the job, did you ever wish you had a list of babysitting tips, that you could easily refer to? Something that would help you to fulfill the parents expectations for a good babysitter who they’ll want to ask back to care for their children again and again? Well we’ve compiled a list based on years of serving hundreds of Orange County and San Diego County families which we hope will help you in your babysitting adventures.

Parents: you may want to read through this list also. It can help you to know what to expect from your own babysitter.

List of What To Do When Babysitting

DO clean up so that the home or hotel room looks as good as it did when you arrived. Tip: if you make it look a little better by doing things like emptying the dishwasher, doing up dishes left in the sink, sweeping up food around the pets eating area … you increase your chance of being placed on that parent’s Favorite Babysitters List and you may even receive a tip.

DO cover up any tattoos as much as possible. Tattoos can make you look scary to children and parents alike. Or on the opposite side, tattoos can be attractive to children, especially if they like you and then of course the parents won’t be happy when their child tells them they want a tattoo like their favorite babysitter.

DO remove any facial piercings.  Piercings are not always appreciated by the parent of a young child who may think it’s “cool” and want a piercing themselves. Really young children may even try to grab a nose ring and that’s not fun for anybody.

DO answer the parent’s telephone (unless the parent requests that you not do so). Take a complete message and speak in a friendly, helpful tone of voice. Tip: we recommend that you ask the parents if they want you to answer the phone. Many parents prefer that you let incoming calls go through to voice mail.

DO give the parent any receipts for money you spent while taking care of their children. This probably won’t happen often but if the parents ask you to order pizza you will want to make sure to give them the receipt, whether you spend your own money and are asking for reimbursement or you spent their money and are showing them an account of what you spent.

DO have a positive attitude when parents call to check in. If you are having a difficult time, ask for their advice but don’t whine about how difficult the situation is. Allow the parents to be at ease while they are out and paying you to care for their children. If the situation was so difficult that you are determined never to come back it’s best not to let them know at that time. Let them enjoy their time away and next time they call for your babysitting services you can just be busy.

DO let parents know if a child was misbehaving and if the child received a time out or another privilege was revoked. Time out and revoking of privileges are the only disciplinary tools that you have as a babysitter. Keep in mind that the parents will most likely be embarrassed that their child misbehaved so reassure them (if true) that everything worked out okay, you just wanted to let them know what happened while they were out.

DO ask the parents what the bedtime routine is. It’s no fun to be faced with a child who will not go to sleep until they have their binky, silky, passy or slimey and you don’t know where it is or WHAT it is for that matter.

DO get written permission if you are using a parents’ car.

DO follow all reasonable parents’ requests such as to bring in mail and newspapers, walk the dog, help children with homework, etc. If a client asks you to do something that you are uncomfortable with or consider an unreasonable expection of a babysitter such as to clean the bathroom, do a weeks worth of laundry, give the dog a bath … it’s best to discuss it at the time they ask you, rather than to agree to it and then not do it or do it and then resolve never to come back. Being open and up front keeps everybody happy and keeps your babysitting calendar full.

DO keep bathroom and bedroom doors open whenever you’re in the room with a child and especially when bathing, changing, dressing or helping potty training children. This helps to eliminate any misunderstandings or possible false accusations.

DO encourage children to partake in educationally oriented activities rather than watch TV or play computer games. If you have your own “bag of goodies” you’ll want to bring them to assignments.

DO take medical and transportation releases with you at all times and make sure client signs them if there’s the chance that you may administer medication or take the child anywhere outside of the home or hotel room. Make sure to hold onto these signed releases for at least seven years.

DO dress professionally for all assignments. Shorts, jeans and t-shirts are fine but no inappropriate images or verbiage should be portrayed on clothing. Clothing should be modest and clean.

DO check with the hotel operator before making a call using the room phone even a call that’s in the same area code as the hotel. Many calls within the same area code still carry a local long distance charge, which oddly enough can be 10 times the charge for a call across the country. Who knew?

What Not To Do When Babysitting


DON’T make phone calls unless absolutely necessary. If you did make a phone call; when the parents return mention that you used the phone to confirm another job or whatever the reason was. You want to make sure to do this, because chances are that the next day your DC (dear charge) will say “the babysitter was on the phone the whole time”. They’re not trying to get you in trouble. It’s just that in a child’s world the fact that you delayed making their peanut butter sandwich for five whole minutes because you were on the phone feels to them like you were on the phone “the whole time”.

DON’T eat the client’s food unless they give you permission to do so and even then don’t open something new or finish something off.

DON’T spend time on the client’s phone or the client’s computer unless they’ve given you permission to do so and even then do so sparingly. Remember that you are there to care for their children, not to do your own business.

DON’T ask the parents to come home if a pet or child is sick or otherwise difficult to handle. DO call parents though to alert them to the situation.

DON’T let children go with anyone unless you have written permission from the parents. Make sure to let the parents know if they call in or when they come home if their child left the home with another child or adult. If leaving the home with an adult that the parents have given you permission to release the child to be sure to get a photo ID from the adult and take a pic of it with your phone.

DON’T let anyone into the home or hotel room without permission from the parent. Feel free to refuse someone access to enter. It’s so much better to be safe than sorry. Make sure to let the parents know if someone asked to take the children.

DON’T transport children or adults in your own car unless you have insurance that specifically covers this. It’s a good idea to have a signed note from the parents if you’ll be walking with the children outside of the family’s property, taking the children on public transportation or using the parent’s car.

DON’T administer any medications without a signed release.

DON’T smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or have a guest visit you while on an assignment.

DON’T be late – EVER. Be respectful of the fact that the family has made plans based on your commitment to be at their home to babysit the children at a certain time. If they have tickets to something that they cannot attend or are late arriving because of your tardiness, they  may ask you to reimburse them.

DON’T complain to parents. It’s a good idea to ask for advice, but it’s never a good idea to complain.

DON’T spend money on the children unless the parents have given you permission to do so; i.e. they ask you to order a pizza or to flag down the neighborhood ice cream truck. And if you do spend any money make sure to give the parents the receipt.

I hope that this simple list will help you to understand what a parent’s expectations may be for a good babysitter who they will ask back again and again.


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Oct
15

Training Program Helps Adults to Help Children

Posted by admin

Darkness to Light empowers adults to help prevent child abuse and to react responsibly if it has already occurred.

Jun
10

Family Travel Games

Posted by admin

Getting to your family vacation place can be half the fun with the help of a few family travel games for kids and kids travel activities, which keeps the kids from asking, “are we there yet”?

Where Do You Hear It?

One person makes a sound and the rest of the family tries to guess where that sound would take place. For example, the sound of a cow mooing could either be a farm or a barn.

Alphabet Game

Starting with “A” the first person has to see a sign, a license plate, a car logo … and state where they saw it. Then the game moves to the letter “B” and so on until you’ve reached “Z”.

Tip: Playing as a team can help smooth over a quarrelsome mood as each player who identifies a letter helps the team move forward.

Travel Scavenger Hunt

Each person writes down a list of items that they think will be seen on this leg of the trip. You could include a particlar color of car, a license plate from a certain state, landmarks, fast food places or animals. Each person passes their list to the right. You can work on the lists individually or in teams. If one or more persons cannot read then they would team up with someone who can read.

Spelling Game

Someone starts out by saying a letter such as “B”. The next person thinks of a word that starts with a “B” and adds a “A”, as in “bat”. The next person has to think of a word that contains both the letters “B” and “A”, and might decide to add a “C” as in “back”. Each player must have a word in mind, because another player can challenge you at any time if they don’t think there is such a word. If a player is challenged and they don’t have a word in mind or their word is nonsense, they’re out of the game. Tip: We like to play this game with a dictionary on hand.

License Plate Game

Write down every different state license plate that passes you on the road. Decide on a goal, depending on how long your trip is. For instance, if you’re going to be on the road for an hour, your goal might be 8, but if you’re making a longer trip you may want to make 20 different plates you goal. The first person to hit the goal wins.

May
31

Keeping Children Safe When with a Caregiver

Posted by admin

Keeping Children Safe When With A Caregiver

by Kathleane O’Leary, Director of Sitters Unlimited – a Southern CA babysitting & childcare agency serving Orange County, San Diego County, Los Angeles County & Riverside  County.

In our work with children we are always concerned about safety. I’d like to pass on to you some basic guidelines and child safety tips we’ve developed and which I hope will help to keep your child(ren) safe when in the care of a school, church nursery, babysitter, or older child – in other words, anyone other than yourself.

I would like our families to know that all of the babysitters here at Sitters Unlimited (Orange County & San Diego County) practice our Keep Children Safe policies.

Click here to receive our free report “Keeping Kids Safe When With a Caregiver”. Hopefully this report will help you to have a little more peace of mind when your children are in the care of someone other than yourself.

May
28

Stop Bullying Now!

Posted by admin

This post originally linked to a Government Resource on Stopping Bullying which had all sorts of games and educational materials, however that site no  longer exists. We’re thankful that BackgroundChecks.org reads our blog and reached out to us with their comprehensive resource that will educate you and help you stop bullying both cyber bullying and physical bullying.

May
27

CA Poison Control Hotline Free Phone Stickers

Posted by admin

Poisoning is one of the most common childhood injuries.

Most of the time poisoning happens in your own home. Things that are poisonous can look just like something that is good to eat or drink. Children are curious. They like putting things in their mouths, especially if it’s colorful (as most candies are) or smells good. If you think a child has ingested a poisonous substance you should immediately call your local Poison Control Hotline. Keeping that number handy for an emergency could be a lifesaver.

CA Poison Control System Free Phone Stickers – US Only

Materials are FREE if you live in the Washington, DC metro area which also includes Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls-Church, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties in Virginia.

Stickers, Magnets & Brochures (brochures are for KS only).

Sitters Unlimited of Orange County & San Diego County CA encourages you to please take a moment to order a free sticker or magnet and post it near your phone in a central portion of your home.