Nannying is fun! You get to be with cute kids all day, play games, teach, tell stories, and build great relationships with them and their parents. In reality, you are often the only adult with these kids for hours at a time. Kids get into trouble, accidents happen, and sometimes you’re faced with a genuine emergency. When the parents aren’t around, and the kids aren’t at school, making sure your kids are safe is now your responsibility.
- What should you encourage the parents to do?
- Who do you need to contact?
- How do you need to be prepared in an emergency?
We’ll go over these in today’s article.
Emergency Contact Info
Of course, you would want the parent’s personal email and cell phone number, but it would be good also to have:
- a parent’s work extension
- their office/work phone number
- the email address they use while at work
Unfortunately, you’re not always going to be able to get ahold of the parents when something goes wrong. It would be good to ask the parents if there is any nearby family or trusted family friends who should be contacted if you can’t get through to the parents. Linked here is a useful contact book to keep all your contacts organized.
All of this information should be in your Medical Consent Form! This form, along with all of the information in this article, will be in our Nanny Binder coming soon! Sign up for our newsletter to get all the latest news on our upcoming products!
Health Care Provider
Sometimes a child has a preexisting condition that makes it essential to have regular contact with their doctor. Often, certain facilities are better prepared to care for specific conditions in an emergency, and it is important to know the right place to bring your child. Have the name, location, and contact information of the child’s doctor.
We all know 911, but it’s not the only emergency service number we need. Here are a few other numbers that could come in handy.
- Poison Control Helpline
- Nearby Fire Department
- Local Police Department
These all can be useful depending on what situation we’re facing.
Don’t get me wrong; it is vitally important to contact emergency services and the parents when a serious emergency happens. Still, when you’re in the middle of a dire situation, you can’t always wait for the police to arrive, you have to take action.
One thing that the police department, fire department, EMTs, and other professionals have in common is that they are prepared for emergencies. They’ve planned and practiced. As the nanny, you are responsible for knowing what to do in specific emergencies. The first step is knowing emergency contact info. Beyond that, you need to know how to respond to serious threats appropriately. For instance, what will you do if:
- The house catches on fire?
- You are invaded by a robber?
- There is a natural disaster?
- You get into a car accident with the kids?
The parents may have already set up a plan of action for all of these scenarios. Still, it’s essential to be prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind for each situation.
- Learn how to operate a fire extinguisher safely
- Know how to spot a faulty or dead smoke alarm
- Know (or develop) a fire escape plan
- Practice the fire escape plan at least twice a year (you can even turn it into a fun game with the kids)
- Make sure the kids know NOT to go back into a burning house
- Learn more about fire hazards
- Be cooperative and calm
- Take mental notes of their appearance and actions
- Seek safety as soon as possible
- Practice doing these things with the children so they can be ready
- Research what disasters could affect your area.
- Where will I find disaster alerts and warnings?
- Where will shelter locations be set up?
- What is our evacuation route?
- Do the family, and I have Go-Bags?
- Has the family already created a disaster emergency plan? If not, recommend that they do so ASAP!
- What will my insurance cover?
- Do I need to change my insurance?
- Do I have emergency supplies (food, auto-care, first-aid) in my car?
- Do I have any road-side assistance services available? (AAA card, local mechanic’s phone number)
Here are some extra resources you can use to prepare for each of these scenarios:
Everybody loves to have fun in the water. Whether it’s at a sunny beach, family pool, or relaxing in a floating river, swimming makes an excellent nanny activity to do with the kiddos, but it comes with serious responsibility.
“Drowning is a leading cause of death for children.” – The American Red Cross
With that knowledge, many nannies are terrified of letting their children swim without parents around. Parents, on the other hand, may want their children to go outside and get some exercise by swimming. Many families even have pools for their young children. While some nannies don’t allow children to swim for fear of danger, a better option is to be diligently prepared to keep your kids safe.
Whether or not the kids know how to swim, if they have never had proper lessons, encourage the parents to enroll their children in a class. These classes will often teach safety and proper swimming techniques. You, too, could benefit from taking one of these classes. Consider doing so if your family has a pool, or lives near a body of water.
First, make sure that your family is stocked with life jackets, or you have some available when swimming at a public facility. Then, it’s essential to make sure everyone is wearing one – including yourself! It’s important to be a good role model and lead by example, after all.
If the family has a pool and a child who is not able to swim safely, make sure proper barriers are set up. A locked gate fencing off the pool, or even just keeping all the doors locked, so the child does not run off to the pool when you’re not looking.
Be prepared just in case something does go wrong. Make sure you’re CPR and First-Aid certified. Be sure to review that information regularly. Have some rules in place for when the kids can and cannot go swimming. For instance, many recommend not taking children swimming if there is no trained lifeguard on duty. Also, make sure that any beach you take your kids to is safe: don’t let them swim near an undertow or in violent waves. These can change your swimming day from fun to dangerous in an instant.
For more water safety information, check out Water Safety by Red Cross.
Child Abuse Awareness
A nanny acts as an extra line of defense for a child’s safety. As someone who likely sees this child every day, you’re in a unique position to notice signs that a child is facing some abuse. Several things could be considered abuse:
- Sexual Abuse
- Verbal or Emotional Abuse
The first thing you can do is learn what the signs of abuse are and look for them. Beyond this, practice with the kids how to interact with strangers. Encourage parents to teach children what sort of interactions are and are not appropriate and what to do in the face of an abuser.
For some further reading on the subject read Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children’s Bureau.
If you have any tips, advice, or experiences you’d like to share, comment below. Let’s help each other stay safe! Check back every Friday for more nanny tips and advice.