Originally posted here by Dr. Elizabeth “Raine” Johnson, MD, at Texas Children’s Hospital


Babysitting is a huge and exciting responsibility. As a pediatrician I often get asked for advice when a teen is getting ready for his or her first babysitting job. Here is a list of my “babysitting do’s and don’ts.”

Babysitting do’s

  • Your first priority is keeping the kids safe. It’s important to know the home address and home phone number. Make sure you have a list of emergency numbers including:
  • Come prepared. Great resources to find a babysitter training or safety course include www.redcross.org and www.ymcahouston.org. I recommend all babysitters have first aid skills like CPR.
  • Know where the first aid kit is located. Hopefully you will never need it but it is always important to know.
  • Make sure to ask for instructions regarding meal time. Do the children have any food allergies?
  • Most importantly, have fun! Board games and playing outside are great ways to keep kids active and entertained.

Babysitting don’ts

  • Except in the case of emergencies, it is best for you to stay off your phone. Watching kids is challenging enough, you do not need the added distraction.
  • Make sure you know how many kids you can handle at a time; don’t try to babysit too many children at once.
  • Do not leave children alone and make sure to check on them often when they have gone to bed.

To learn more, visit American Academy of Pediatrics babysitting reminders.