Safety Tips for Babysitters: Keeping Indoor Play Areas Safe

A babysitter's job is to keep the children safe. While in the house, you will need to keep children away from dangerous areas. This includes the kitchen, bathroom, workshop, and storage areas. Closely watch children, especially the fast moving ones.

Here are some tips on keeping play areas safe for babies and toddlers:

The Playpen

Be sure to:

  • Remove strings of toys from across the top or sides of the playpen. They can cause a child to strangle.
  • Keep the playpen drop sides up and securely locked—when a child is in the playpen.
  • Keep any toys out of the playpen that the child can stand on to climb out.
  • Keep the child's fingers away from the hinges.
  • Keep the playpen away from space heaters, stoves, and fireplaces.

High Chairs

A baby in a high chair needs to be watched almost constantly. Babies can slip out of a high chair fast— if not properly strapped in. An unstable high chair can also tip over.

  • Make sure any safety belts or straps on the high chair are securely fastened.
  • Make sure the tray is properly secured.
  • Do not let the child stand up while in the chair. Also, keep other children from climbing on it.
  • Keep the chair away from busy areas of the house, such as doorways.
  • Keep the chair away from stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces.
  • Keep the chair far enough away from walls so that the child cannot push the chair over.

The Crib

Here are some tips to keep the crib safe:

  • Check to see how much space is between the mattress and the side of the crib. If the space is larger than 2 fingers, a baby’s head could get caught in between. This could cut off the baby's air supply. Roll up a couple of towels and place them in the space.
  • Check the slats in the side of the crib. Make sure they meet current safety regulations.
  • If the child is old enough to stand up, the parents should:
    • Set the mattress at its lowest position.
    • Set the side rail at its highest position.
  • Check the mattress support frequently. Make sure it has not become unhooked from the end panels.
  • Do not leave toys in the crib that could be used to help the child climb out.
  • Do not use crib toys that may have strings or elastic attached to them—they can strangle and choke a child.
  • Beware of cribs with decorative knobs on the corner posts. They can lead to strangulation. Children’s clothing and strings or necklaces can catch on the knobs or posts. This often happens if the child is trying to climb out.
  • Keep the crib away from stoves, heaters, and fireplaces.

There are a lot of things to look out for when baby-sitting. The most important thing is to watch the children at all times. This will help you keep them safe from accidents.

RESOURCES:

Safe Kids Worldwide
http://www.safekids.org

US Consumer Product Safety Commission
http://www.cpsc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

Parachute
http://www.parachutecanada.org

REFERENCES:

Babysitting: the basics. Nemours Kids Health Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidshealth.org/en/teens/babysit.html . Accessed November 3, 2021.

Creating safe indoor environments. LibreTexts website. Available at: https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Early_Childhood_Education/Book%3A_Health_Safety_and_Nutrition_(Paris)/Section_II%3A_Safety/03%3A_Creating_Safe_Indoor_Environments. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Indoor safety tips. Children's MD—Children's Hospital Saint Louis website. Available at: https://childrensmd.org/browse-by-topic/safety/indoor-safety-tips/. Accessed November 3, 2021.

Last reviewed November 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board   Last Updated: 11/3/2021