Babysitting: Numbers to Know

Babysitting: Numbers to Know

Part of being a responsible babysitter is knowing when (and where) to reach out for help. Naturally, if little Justin throws a tantrum because you won't let him eat a peanut butter bar, that's something to handle on your own. But what if you think he ate that peanut butter bar and you know he has a nut allergy? That's when it's time to call a parent.

Who to Call First

In general, you want to call a child's parents first when you need help. But different parents do things differently. Ask the parents what they prefer.

There are exceptions to the call-a-parent-first rule. In a real emergency where seconds count, like if a child is badly injured, has stopped breathing, or isn't responding to you, dial 911 first and then call the parents. (Don't panic, though, these things hardly ever happen on babysitting jobs!)

How to Reach a Parent

Before the parents leave, get the following numbers:

Emergency Numbers

Emergency Contact Sheet Get The Sheet

Ask the parents to post a list of emergency numbers next to the phone or on the fridge. If the house you're sitting in doesn't have a landline, make sure your cell phone is always charged.

Obviously, 911 is the first call to make in case of fire or other emergency. But not all emergencies demand a 911 response. So ask the parents to post the following numbers and know where they are:

If you babysit for the same family regularly, you might want to enter these numbers into your phone contacts.

If an emergency comes up, it's not a reflection on you and your babysitting skills — but how well you handle an emergency is. Calling for help is the right thing to do, so don't be afraid to do so. Parents understand that it's impossible to avoid mishaps all the time!

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: March 2013

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
Web SiteAmerican Red Cross Babysitter's Training Course Designed for 11- to 15-year-olds, the babysitter's training course can help you care for children and infants, make good decisions, solve problems, be a good leader, and more.
Related Articles
Babysitting: Stay Focused and Stay Safe It's hard to believe some of the trouble little kids can get into - and how quickly. Find out some of the key points for staying in charge in this article for teen babysitters.
Babysitting: Emergency Contact Sheet The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. If you're a teen babysitter, be sure parents have filled out a sheet like this and posted it near each phone.
Babysitting: Pool Safety Pools give kids an opportunity to play outside and get some exercise. But there are dangers involved whenever kids are around water, so babysitters need to be extra alert and watchful. Learn what to look out for.
Babysitting Center Need advice on starting a babysitting business or tips on caring for kids? Want to test your babysitting knowledge and hear how other babysitters do it? This babysitting center for teens is the place for you.
3 Things Every Responsible Babysitter Should Know It's extremely unlikely that you'll face an emergency while babysitting. But knowing you're capable of handling problems allows you to relax and focus on the kids.
Babysitting: The Basics If you're new to babysitting, check out our guide to learn how to be the best babysitter around. Been babysitting forever? Use the guide to check your skills.
911 Emergencies No one likes to think that something might happen to someone we care about. But whether we like it or not, emergencies do happen, and they require us to think and respond quickly.
Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's