Babysitting, Babysitters and your Child’s Safety

Share Me

Babysitting is not defined early childhood education, but many parents want to know about this option and some of the basic rules around who can be a babysitter and how to ensure children’s safety.

A sleep-over at the house of family relatives or grandparents is a popular and no-cost option for many families, but also consider and watch for any risks.

Finding a babysitter through a babysitting agency can be a good idea if the agency does reference and police checks.

A babysitter must be 14 years of age or older. A child/person under 14 years must not be left home alone.

A young child can find it stressful to be left with a complete stranger and be asked to trust that person.

An absence of a previous criminal history should not be regarded as a guarantee that the babysitter is a safe person to be with your child. 

Safe babysitting arrangements

Here are five tips:

  1. Check with your child before leaving if they are pleased to be with the babysitter, family friend or relative. Trust your child’s instincts. Never force your child to stay with someone he/she does not like.
  2. Reduce opportunities for abuse. For example, have your child already bathed and changed in pyjamas before dropping off to a friend’s house for a sleep-over or before the babysitter arrives. Tell the babysitter not to put your child to bed but to let your child stay up and snooze on the couch (or bassinet if a baby, or on a made-up bed on the floor if your child could roll off the couch) until you arrive home. Also instruct the babysitter not to discipline your child but to phone you if there is any problem.
  3. Discuss with your babysitter what to do if you do not arrive home as planned and give emergency contact numbers.
  4. Check if the babysitter will be inviting anyone else to your home when you are not there, and set rules around not doing this.
  5. Inform the babysitter of your child’s dietary and care needs, and demonstrate for example, how to warm milk for your baby and check the temperature before feeding.

Before leaving your child with a babysitter invite the babysitter to visit so that your child and the sitter can get to know each other.  Put some children’s books and toys out and give them space to interact and play together. Watch and see how well they get along. Note if the babysitter has good supervision skills and (at least basic) childcare skills. 

* Author Dr Sarah Alexander, article published by My ECE

Leave a Reply

No questions please – comments only. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


child complaint form
Complaint Forms & Information

Child Complaint Form

Support your child to make a complaint, using this child complaint form, and have their needs and wishes heard. This form is to be used

Read More »
childcare subsidy baby children WINZ
Fees, Costs & Childcare Subsidies

Childcare Subsidy through WINZ

The WINZ Childcare subsidy is the only government financial assistance available to help New Zealand families cover the cost of childcare.  ECE service operators and owners

Read More »
teacher reading book to a group of children
Children's Books and Early Reading

Early Reading Development

How can you as a parent or caregiver best support your child’s early reading development? Here are some ideas. Infants and toddlers Preschool Age 3

Read More »
Parents' Choice Awards
Parents' Choice Award

The Parents’ Choice Awards

Parents’ Choice Awards – “Celebrating the best ECE services for young children and their families” What is the Award and Eligibility This is an annual

Read More »
myECE white logo blue back

Join the Parents Council

Are you are parent, grandparent, or caregiver of a child under 6 years?    

Join the ECE Parents Council.   You will receive:

  • A monthly newsletter (free)
  • Survey invitations and notifications of important changes in ECE

We promise not to spam you with rubbish, just useful information.