25303 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Safety Tips For Babysitters: Keeping Outdoor Play Areas Safe

    IMAGE When the weather is nice or the children are rambunctious, you may spend some of your daytime babysitting outdoors. Outdoor play equipment—swings, seesaws, and slides—can be fun, but can be dangerous too. You'll need to keep a watchful eye on the little ones in your care. Here are some tips on keeping outdoor play areas safe for children.

    Playground Equipment

    Children often do the unexpected on playground equipment. They are naturally curious and adventurous. Common hazardous behaviors include:
    • Standing, rather than sitting, in a swing
    • Climbing to the top of the swing set and sitting or swinging on it
    • Jumping off or in front of swings, seesaws, or gliders
    • Walking in front or in back of a moving swing
    • Putting too much weight on a piece of equipment and toppling it
    Hanging "rings" are particularly dangerous to small children. Their heads may be small enough to go through the ring, turning it into a noose.

    Supervision Tips

    All children should be supervised when playing on this kind of equipment. Here are some tips:
    • Tell children to sit in the center of a swing.
    • Explain the following hazards:
      • Walking in front or in back of a swing
      • Pushing other children off of the swing
      • Swinging empty seats
      • Twisting the swing chains
      • Climbing up the front of the slide
    • From the start, stop any bad behavior.
    You can also enlist the help of children. Talk to older children about certain safety rules and why they are important. Ask them to assist you in watching the younger ones. It will help them to understand these rules better. Let children know that any bad behavior (eg, stunts, misuse of equipment) is unacceptable.

    Pool Safety

    Daytime babysitting can also include time in or around a swimming pool, wading pool, or spa. Children are naturally attracted to water. Therefore, you must take precautions at all times to prevent accidents.

    Facts About Children and Drowning

    Nationwide, drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death of children and adolescents. Many children are treated each year in hospital emergency rooms as a result of near-drowning. Drowning is a silent killer. When a child drowns, a babysitter won't hear a cry or even a splash. It can happen very quickly.

    Ways to Prevent Drowning

    Seconds count. In seconds, a child can leave the house and walk to the edge of the pool. In seconds, a child can drown in only a few inches of water. A child can drown in the few seconds taken to answer a telephone in the house.
    To help prevent drowning, do the following:
    • Never leave a child alone with any body of water (eg, pool, bath tub, spa).
    • Do not allow a child to swim alone. You should be within arm's length of infants and toddlers who are swimming. You should know how to swim, be able to rescue someone, and do CPR. The American Heart Association offers CPR classes.
    • Remember that even a child who knows how to swim is still at risk for drowning and will need constant supervision.
    • Do not allow children to play around the pool.
    • Be sure that all gates or doors leading from the house to the pool area are locked.
    • If the pool is above ground, remove the ladder to prevent access.
    • Empty wading pools and buckets when you are done using them. Also, if you are babysitting small children, keep the lid on the toilet down and the bathroom door closed.
    • If you discover a child to be missing, first check the pool, wading pool, spa, or hot tub.
    • Know the telephone numbers to call for emergency medical service. In most cases, this is 911.
    As a babysitter, you can teach children that safe play can still be fun play!

    RESOURCES

    American Heart Association http://www.americanheart.org/

    American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/

    National Safe Kids Campaign http://www.safekids.org/

    United States Consumer Product Safety Commission http://www.cpsc.gov/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    About Kids Health http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/

    Canada Safety Council http://www.safety-council.org/

    References

    Safety and first aid. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www2.aap.org/healthtopics/safety.cfm. Accessed May 21, 2012.

    5/28/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy statement—prevention of drowning. Pediatrics. 2010 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.