Parent Safety Tips

Here at OPEAR, we’re 100% committed to the safety of the children in our care. Please review our safety guidelines before your first booking begins.

  • Review OPEAR profiles: When you receive applicants for a job or search for your SOS sitters, closely review their experience, education, and certifications.
  • Read parent reviews: See what other parents who’ve hired a particular sitter in the past have to say. Their insight about a sitter’s performance and personality can help you decide if someone is a good fit for your family.
  • Check references: Reach out to the references listed on the sitter’s profile to gain additional insight, and don’t hesitate to request more references. Be sure to verify the information your potential sitter has given you is correct and ask questions about how she or he performed on the job.
  • Look for clues elsewhere online: Chances are your potential sitters have several online profiles that can provide clues about their personality and hobbies. Search sitter names online and check out social media activity to spot any red flags.
  • Watch for child warning signs: The following signs could indicate something more serious than a poor match:
    • Child’s behavior changes drastically (becomes excessively clingy or aggressive)
    • Child cries, screams, and begs you not to leave when the sitter arrives
    • Child develops unexplained bruises, cuts, or burns
    • Child loses appetite or starts having recurrent nightmares
    • Child acts disinterested when caregiver arrives
    • These are just a handful of examples. If you observe any warning signs, take action immediately.
  • Ask your kids questions: Ask your children open-ended questions about their day, but try not to judge or lead during the discussion. Respect your children’s feelings and always take them seriously, especially negative comments.
  • Teach your kids life skills: Through your words and actions, teach your children the “life skills” that help them to make sound decisions in many areas, including personal safety.
    • Decision-making
    • Risk-taking
    • Assertiveness
    • Consequences
  • Leave instructions for sitters
    • Go over your child’s usual routine (homework, bedtime, mealtimes) and your general house rules, including any limits on TV, computer use, video games, playing outside, etc.
    • Make sure the sitter knows where you will be and how to reach you at all times, and under what circumstances to call 911 before contacting you.
    • Point out where the sitter can find the number for the poison control center, which is 1-800-222-1222 (it should be posted in a prominent location).
    • Make sure the sitter knows whom to contact in an emergency. Provide an emergency phone list that includes neighbors, friends, relatives, and your doctor. Write your own phone number and address on the list, so that in case of an emergency, the sitter can give that information to the 911 operator.
    • Show the sitter where emergency exits, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers are located. Demonstrate how to enable and disable security systems and alarms if you have them.
    • Show the sitter where you keep the inside door keys in case a child locks himself or herself inside a room.
    • Let the sitter know of any special problems your child may have, such as an allergy to bee stings, certain foods, or household products, or the need for medication at a specific time (explain and write down the directions).
    • Review your first-aid kit with the sitter.
    • Ensure that the sitter understands that your child is not to be released to anyone else, unless release to another individual has been discussed in advance.