Who do you trust with your child?
Arizona has seen an increase from 51 child maltreatment deaths in 2008 to 70 in 2010, that’s a startling 38% increase. Tragically, many of these children died at the hands of unsafe caregivers. Sometimes parents don’t plan ahead or think it through. Other times, they rush to trust someone who is untrustworthy. An unsafe caregiver could be a boyfriend or girlfriend, a neighbor or even a relative.
Choose a Safe Caregiver
Please consider these simple tips and warning signs before deciding on a caregiver for your child.
Think before you trust. A little planning could save a precious child.
A Safe Caregiver:
- Has experience caring for babies and young children
- Is patient and mature enough to care for a fussy, overexcited or crying baby
- Understands that young children must always be supervised
- Will be watching only your child or a limited number of children so that each child is given adequate attention
- Will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or withhold food for a child as punishment
- Does not abuse alcohol or drugs, or carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using or selling drugs, or carrying weapons
- Keeps your child clean and safe – accidents are infrequent
- Is recommended to have first aid training
- Talks to you and asks questions, as necessary – your caregiver should be able to tell you everything your child did and discuss any concerns
- Is aware of safe sleep practices – babies can suffocate if they sleep face down so they should always be placed in a crib on his/her back with no blankets, crib bumpers, toys, or pillows that might interfere with breathing. Visit Healthy Safe Baby for more explanation about Safe Sleep guidelines.
- Is aware of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Warning Signs of an Unsafe Caregiver:
- Has problems with anger generally or is severely impatient when children have tantrums, cry or misbehave
- Is violent and/or controlling with their partner(s) or others
- Is physically or verbally abusive with children
- Abuses alcohol or other drugs, including marijuana
- Uses prescription medications that have bad side effects or make them drowsy
- Is not trustworthy for any reason – trust your instincts
- Is already stressed
- Your child is not happy to see the caregiver and has become anxious or withdrawn
- Is not open and honest about what they did during the time with your child
- The child has had multiple accidents that could have been avoided
- Your requests are not followed by the caregiver