Keeping children safe is the most important part of babysitting, and poisoning is one of the most common childhood injuries. Nearly half of the calls to poison centers involve children under the age of 6. As a babysitter or caretaker for a child, you need to know what poisons are and how to keep children away from them.
Many everyday household products are poisonous. When you babysit, make sure these items are locked up and out of children's reach:
Bug and weed killers
Nail polish remover
Cigarettes and vaping products
Keep children in sight. Children act fast, but so do poisons!
Make sure medicines and cleaning products are locked up, out of children's reach. Ask for a safe place (closet or cabinet) where you can store your backpack, purse or other personal items. Items such as cosmetics, medicine and art supplies that may be in your belongings should be kept away from children.
Safety latches on drawers or cabinets and child-resistant caps on bottles help keep poisons out of the hands of children. But remember, they are not “childproof” and do not take the place of your careful and constant supervision.
Remember the before, while and after rule:
Before using a cleaning product, read the instructions on the bottle.
While using a cleaning product, never leave it alone. A child may find it.
After using a product, put it back in a locked cabinet. Make sure the container is closed tightly.
If you are asked to give medicine to a child, follow the directions. After using the medicine, return the bottle to a safe storage place right away. Never leave a child alone with medicine.
Before you are left in charge of a child, make sure the parent(s) write down:
The family doctor's name and telephone number.
How to reach them in an emergency.
Each child's age and weight.
Any allergies or medical conditions.
Call the 24-Hour Poison Help Line for Additional Support:
If you think someone has been poisoned or simply have a poison-related question, call the poison center help line. Do not wait for the child to look or feel sick. Don’t be afraid to call the poison center. Parents will appreciate a babysitter who knows what to do in an emergency. We are available 24/7.