Children are the single most important gift in our lives. Protection of a child is a parent's number one concern. Young children need to be constantly looked out for by parents, teachers or other adults. Unfortunately, parents and teachers cannot always be around to look after children. Legislator Salvatore B. Pontillo would like to offer parents information on what to do when selecting a babysitter or day care center. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has a series of suggestions to follow when selecting a babysitter or day care center that is right for your child.
"Nothing is more important to me than protecting children, these guidelines are extremely useful for parents who cannot be home every day to greet their child as they get off the school bus," said Pontillo.
Here are some tips on how to go about selecting a day care center:
* Screen numerous centers before deciding which one is correct for your child.
* Make sure your center allows parents to come and go as they please unannounced and there are no off limit areas to parents. If possible, drop in unannounced to check on your child.
* Make sure the bathroom areas are not places where children can be isolated. Ask if children are escorted to the bathroom and by whom.
* Make sure naptime for children is properly supervised.
* Inquire about the training and certification of all day care center employees.
* Find out who will be interacting with your child in addition to day care staff, such as janitors, bus drivers and relatives of staff members.
* Ask about the child to staff ratio.
* Inquire about how discipline is handled within the center.
* Make sure you talk to your child everyday about day care, find out about any problems that they may be having and report them to the center staff if necessary.
Here now are some pointers in choosing the correct babysitter to watch over your children:
* Ask relatives, friends, or neighbors about good babysitters. Many local high schools and even the telephone book can make recommendations about qualified sitters.
* When interviewing possible sitters, check up on their past. Call their contacts and find out about their previous employment.
* Interview a number of sitters before reaching a decision.
* Watch how your children interact with each of the sitters and ask for their opinion on which ones they like the best.
* Outline the babysitter's duties and make sure to leave telephone numbers where you can be reached and emergency numbers.
* Verify their information, name, address, telephone number and even driver's license number, and keep this information.
The correct babysitter or day care center can provide safety for children and a sense of security for parents during the hours after school. If you would like to receive a brochure from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children about day care centers and babysitters please call Legislator Pontillo's office at 571-6214.