Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is your Babysitter too young?

How old is your babysitter? Ours are all college age or older. However, I have three little boys and I need someone who will really pay attention and know how to solve problems. So I don't think a young person without a lot of experience would be able to handle them. As the boys get older, I think I will consider younger babysitters. The baby just turned one and he needs constant attention. He is into EVERYTHING! I think I do worry about older girls texting or playing on the Internet, but my oldest would most definitely tell me if that was happening. When I tell them a babysitter is coming over, they hear "something is coming over to play with you." How old are your babysitters?

FROM NBC: It's a tempting idea for desperate parents, letting a pre-teen babysit their children. but some wonder if tweens are simply too immature to take on such an important responsibility.
Now doctors say they have brand new insight into what young babysitters are capable of. Donielle Martin thinks 11 is way too young to babysit. This mother of 5-year-old Noah says she'd only use someone that age as a mother's helper when she's in the house too. Donnielle Martin said, "At 11 you're really not good at making the proper judgment calls."

"You're not ready for it at that stage in your life. I mean, you're still a kid yourself." Late last month a two year old died from head injuries and blunt force trauma to her body. Police near Atlanta where the incident happened say her 11-year-old babysitter is responsible. Although police don't say what led up to the alleged beating, new research is helping doctors understand how prepared tween babysitters are in difficult situations.

Dr. Heather Orman-Lubell/ Pediatrician "I think what it did do was give us a little snapshot of what we can do better with these kids." Pediatrician doctor Heather Orman-Lubell says some of the findings in the survey of preteen babysitters are reassuring. Researchers from Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital say almost all young sitters know what to do if there is an intruder or a sick or injured child.
But a whopping 40 percent admit they've left an infant in their care unattended, 20 percent say they have opened the door to strangers.

Babysitting classes are common these days, but less than 20 percent of younger babysitters have taken one.
Half know first aid and CPR and most know where to find first aid supplies. 911 calls from preteen babysitters are uncommon but serious. Most involved children who had a significant fall. Fires, profuse bleeding, and head trauma are other reasons paramedics were called.

Donielle worries that older babysitters have baggage, too.
Donnielle Martin/ Mom "I find people that are at least 17 or 18, but the problem you have with those ages is they are often times texting or on facebook." Dr. Orman-Lubell says parents should tell younger babysitters exactly what's expected of them, even when it comes down to something as simple as never leaving a child alone. Observe them with your children before you leave them alone. The doctor says, in general, tween babysitters are best for older children, not infants.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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