Safety with the Baby Sitter

Photo of a smiling child sitting with a teenage babysitter

Leaving clear, detailed instructions for your baby sitter is a good way to keep your child safe – and ease your mind – when you’re away. Our tips can help you enjoy a night out or a weekend away.

Coaching the baby sitter

Important phone numbers

  • Post emergency numbers — including for the hospital, doctor and the Oregon Poison Center (800-222-1222) — by your home phone. You may want to ask regular sitters to put those numbers on their cellphones.
  • Have the sitter put your cell number on their phone. Also post it near the home phone.
  • Give the sitter the phone number of where you will be.
  • Give the sitter a neighbor or relative’s phone number in case of emergency.
  • Make sure the sitter knows your address and phone number.

Safety tips

  • Tell your sitter where you’re going and how long you will be gone.
  • Show your sitter where emergency numbers are posted.
  • Show your sitter fire-escape routes, chain or rope ladders for upper-floor windows, smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.
  • Review the tips on this page with the sitter. You may want to print them out.
  • Have a clear understanding with your sitter about:
    • Pay
    • Use of the kitchen, TV, phone and computer
    • Guests
  • Give new sitters time to get to know your child before you leave.
  • Lock up before you leave.
  • When you get back, ask the sitter about any calls, visitors, emergencies, accidents or unusual occurrences.
  • Escort the sitter home at night.


What to tell the baby sitter

  • Tell the sitter to call 911 right away if:
    • They think an injury is severe.
    • There’s a fire of any size.
    • They suspect an intruder.
  • In case of a fire, tell the sitter to get out with all children, then call 911 from their cellphone or a neighbor’s home.
  • Show the sitter where first-aid supplies are.

What to teach your child

  • Have your child tell the sitter about any accident, injury or strange person.
  • Show your child how to call 911. Explain that they should call 911 only when an adult can’t do it.
  • Teach your child their name, address and phone number.
  • Write the emergency numbers, your address and home phone number next to the phone and show it to your child.
  • Teach your child how to give this information when calling an emergency number:
    • My name is:
    • I live at:
    • My phone number is:
    • We have an emergency:

Medications and medical issues

  • Write down the times and doses of your child’s medications. Show your sitter where the medications are. 
  • Tell the sitter about your child’s medical conditions. Explain how they should handle an asthma attack, epileptic seizure or other event.

Care and play safety

  • Review safety for routine care such as baths, diaper changing or putting your baby down for a nap.
  • Tell the sitter which play activities are allowed inside and outside.
  • Tell the sitter what rooms, such as the attic or basement, are off-limits. Lock those doors.

Location and hours

The Tom Sargent Safety Resource Center is in Doernbecher's main lobby.

Doernbecher Children’s Hospital
700 S.W. Campus Drive
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays or by appointment.


Visit our Safety Resources page to find brochures you can download and links to safety products in our nonprofit store.

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