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Safety for au pairs looking after children

Some helpful suggestions

The Golden rule is NEVER take a risk. Small children have a habit of finding danger, even though they often appear to be quite sensible. If a child is out of sight and quiet, he/she is probably up to mischief!

1. Never forget that looking after children is one of the most responsible jobs that you will ever have.

2. Never leave a child alone for any length of time. Keep a regular eye out for what the child might be doing.

3. Never leave pills, tablets, medicine, bleach, disinfectant or any potentially dangerous substance or chemical where a child could reach it - even if it is in a drawer, bag or box.

4. Never give a child any container which contains anything that could be dangerous even if you think that the top is secured tightly.

5. Never open a window, which a child could fall out of, or put anything in front of a window, which a child could climb up on.

6. Always be wary of electricity. Children are fascinated by it. Never leave small metal objects lying around that a child could push into the socket.

7. Never leave a flex or handle dangling over the edge of anything which a small child could pull - for example a hair dryer, kettle, the iron or a bag.

8. Never put a hot drink, soup, the teapot or a saucepan within reach of the children. The same applies to sharp knives and scissors.

9. Never leave a child alone whilst they are eating. Children can choke.

10. Never leave a child alone while in the bath, even for a few seconds. Children can drown very quickly in shallow water.

11. Never run the hot water into the bath first. A child may put a hand into the water running from the tap or slip into the bath and burn itself.

12. Never do the ironing whilst you are looking after a child. Never leave the iron plugged in, whether or not it is on or off. When finished, always wind in the flex around the iron and put it well out of reach in an upright position. Never leave the iron on while you answer the telephone. It only takes a second for a child to burn itself.

Outside

1. When you take the children out for a walk, never leave them unattended. Never talk to strangers. Always keep to the main paths. Always take a child with you wherever you go; never leave them outside a shop in the pushchair whilst you go inside. (If you cannot take the pushchair in, leave it outside empty and take the child in with you.)

2. When crossing the road with small children when they are not in a pushchair, always either hold their hands tightly or carry them. Never take a chance. As much as is possible try to educate and remind a child of the danger of the traffic and how to cross the road safely.

3. If you take a child out, never be home later than agreed, even by a few minutes. Always tell host parents where you are going and never go without letting them know first - for the child's safety and yours. (If and when you have children of your own you will understand how worried a mother can get!)

4. Always strap a child into the pushchair.

5. Always shut the garden gate when you come through it.

6. A young child is not safe by itself in the garden so always keep an eye on him/her.

7. If you spot anything that looks dangerous around the house please tell your host parents about your concern.

STRANGERS

Never open the door to strangers when host parents are out. Always look to see who is calling before opening the door.  This is an important rule; people posing as electricity meter readers, for example, have been known to attack people in their own homes.  If you are in doubt, ask to see their ID.

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