There is no law in Ontario that states a certain age. The Child and Family Services Act states that; a person who has charge of a child less than 16 years of age cannot leave the child without making provision for his/her care or supervision that is reasonable under the circumstances. The Children’s Aid Society recommends that children be at least 12 years old to babysit other children. This is the recommended age whether the children are the babysitter’s siblings, or if they are babysitting children outside of their family. The age does not change, based on this circumstance.
As we discussed in a previous post, there are many things that parents must consider when they are deciding if their child is old enough to become a babysitter. The same recommendations would apply, in that they must have access to a phone to contact 911 in case of an emergency, etc.
You also need to think carefully about the responsibility and maturity level of the child. Do they follow instructions well, when left unattended? Do they panic in stressful situations? If so, maybe they are not yet ready to be responsible for another child or multiple children. Or maybe your child thrives in a caretaking environment, and would make an excellent babysitter, at the young age of 12.
Experience with children is a big factor that comes into play with babysitting. A child who has siblings, or who is around other children often, may be ready to babysit, much earlier than those who are not. Knowing how to comfort children when they are upset, being able to properly deal with a situation of an injured or sick child, how to play with children of different ages, and how to prepare light meals, are all very important qualities to have as a babysitter. These are things that are discussed and practiced, in great detail, in a Seconds Save Lives Babysitter’s course.
We all hope that a babysitter would never have to deal with a serious first aid situation, when alone with another child. But it is something we must consider, and know that a young babysitter is prepared to handle such a serious and stressful situation. We emphasize to children in our classes that our business name, ‘Seconds Save Lives’ is a very true statement. In a serious situation, such as a choking or a fire, just seconds, can make a difference between life or death. Teaching children how to handle themselves in these emergencies is a task that our instructors take very seriously.
Whether it’s having a tea party with a table full of a child’s favorite stuffed animals, or performing abdominal thrusts on a child who is has a fully blocked airway from a grape, babysitters need to be prepared! Our Babysitters Course is packed full of ways to teach your children to become excellent babysitters! To register for one of our upcoming courses, register here.
Be Safe ~ Seconds Save Lives