When You're Not Home

Babysitters – whether they’re grandparents, neighbors or teenagers – take your place while you’re not at home. It becomes their job to protect your child’s safety. Do not underestimate the importance of clear and detailed instructions. The following tips will help prepare your babysitter for potential problems.

These suggestions will help prepare your babysitter if there’s a problem:

  • Post emergency phone numbers – including police, fire, ambulance service, hospital, physician and poison center numbers – on your fridge or somewhere handy. Tell the babysitter where the phone numbers are posted.
  • Always write down the phone number of the place where you will be, your cell phone number, and post it on your fridge or somewhere handy.
  • Program your cell phone and/or office number into the babysitter’s phone for easy access.
  • Always leave the phone number of a neighbor or relative to call in case of emergency.
  • Make sure the babysitter knows your street address and phone number for identification purposes.
  • When in doubt, encourage the babysitter to call you.
  • UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Emergency Department phone number is 412-692-5555.
  • The Pittsburgh Poison Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh phone number is 1-800-222-1222.

Care and Play Restrictions

  • Review safety precautions that should be taken during routine care, such as bathing, diaper changing or placing a baby down for a nap.
  • Tell the babysitter which play activities are permitted in the home and which are restricted to outdoors.
  • Indicate what rooms, such as the attic or basement, are off limits to a child. Be sure to lock the doors to these rooms.
  • Teach your child and instruct your babysitter on basic rules about answering the door, including never opening the door to strangers and never telling a stranger that parents are not home.


  • Instruct the babysitter not to hesitate to call an ambulance or the police if she believes an injury is severe.
  • The babysitter should know how to contact the police or fire department if she suspects an intruder or a fire.
  • In case of a fire, instruct the babysitter to evacuate herself and all children first, then call the fire department from a neighbor’s home.
  • Point out emergency fire exits, chain and rope ladders, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms.
  • In case an ambulance is needed, let the babysitter know which hospital you prefer for your child.
  • Tell the babysitter where first-aid supplies are located.

Medications and Medical Conditions

  • If your child is taking a medication, write down the time the medication should be taken and the dosage. Let the babysitter know where the medications are kept, but make sure medications are out of reach of the child.
  • Tell the babysitter about any special medical condition your child may have, such as asthma or epilepsy. Make sure you explain to the babysitter how an event such as an asthma attack or a seizure should be handled if necessary.