If you are considering travelling as an au pair and looking after other people’s children we advise that you undertake a proper course in child care. Here are some basic tips that you should follow should you ever find yourself responsible for looking after children. This is not a definitive list and is only a guide.
We advise the following:
- When running a bath for a child never leave them unattended in the bathroom whilst the taps are running.
- Never leave a child even unattended in a bath for even a few moments
- Always make sure that saucepan handles are facing into the middle of the cooker hob to avoid the child pulling the saucepan on themselves.
- Keep matches away from children and in a cupboard out of reach.
- Always replace lids and tighten securely on cleaning products, such as bleach, and keep these products in a locked cupboard.
- Keep all medicines in a locked cupboard or out of a child’s reach.
- Do not leave sharp knives or scissors where a child can reach and play with them.
- Do not let children play with plastic bags in case they put it over their head and suffocate.
- Always remember to hold a child’s hand as they cross the road.
- Where possible cross a road at a zebra crossing or a pelican crossing with traffic lights.
- Do not allow the child to open the front door of the family home to strangers.
- Do not leave a baby or a child outside alone especially in a public place.
- Check with the parents to find out if the child is allergic to any foods or medicines, eg nuts
- Help and watch children whilst they walk/climb downstairs
- Never accept a lift in a car anywhere with strangers
- Do not encourage the child to speak to strangers
- Never let a stranger into the family home unless the family have given you their permission
- Always collect a child from school on time or telephone the school to inform them if you are going to be late collecting the child.
- Strap babies into a high chair using the safety strap
- Make sure that small objects are not left lying around for a baby to pick up and put into its mouth.
- Always make sure that a child is fastened into a car wearing the correct car seat straps or seatbelts.
- Make sure you are aware of how to contact the emergency services should the need arise
We all know that accidents can happen at any time and there will always be that unguarded moment when attention is diverted elsewhere. Statistics show that a child dies everyday in an accident and that accidents are the single greatest cause of death among children and young people in the UK – they put more children in hospital than any other cause; and yet the vast majority of parents and au pairs would not know what to do if a child or baby stopped breathing or started choking. Anyone left alone with young children should be equipped with basic first aid skills and information which can help stop a minor injury becoming a major accident and in the worst case scenario make the difference between life and death.
Learning first aid is not difficult. Simple techniques can be easily learnt by attending a first aid course taught by qualified and experienced teachers which will give the confidence needed to cope in an emergency.
First Aid Tips
Provided by Safe and Sound www.safeandsound.uk.net
If your child suffers a burn or scald:
Cool burn with cold running water for at least ten minutes. If cold water is not available, use another cold, harmless liquid, such as milk.
Get Medical help for any burn or scald which is larger than a 50p coin
Remember to keep calm and give lots of comfort and reassurance to the child
DO NOT remove burnt clothing which has stuck to the skin. Burnt clothing is sterile and will protect the wound
Remove carefully any jewellery, belts, restrictive clothing or footwear (that is not stuck to the skin) from the injured area before it begins to swell
Cover the burn with a clean, dry, not fluffy dressing and secure loosely. A plastic bag or piece of cling film is ideal
DO NOT put butter oil or any sort of grease or lotion on a burn or scald – these can cause further damage and increase the risk of infection
DO NOT apply sticking plasters or any other type of adhesive dressing to the skin – they will cause pain and damage when removed
DO NOT break blisters – you may introduce infection into the wound
DO NOT give the child anything to eat or drink with the exception of painkillers
Give the recommended dose of children’s painkiller syrup
REMEMBER Tell medical staff when, what and how much medicine you have given. Not all medicines are suitable for all children; please consult your doctor or pharmacist before giving any medication to your child.
If your child suffers a Febrile Convulsion:
A febrile convulsion occurs as a result of an infection and high temperature, normally affecting young children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years.
Signs of a fever including flushed red face, sweating, high temperature and hot forehead
Eyes rolling back, fixed or squinted
Muscular stiffening and arching of the back
Possible blue tinge to the lips
The aim of the treatment is controlled cooling of the child and to maintain their safety
Remove clothing and bedclothes
Ventilate room – it should feel cool but not cold
Clear space around child to prevent injury
Continue to reduce temperature by tepid sponging. Using a sponge, gently wipe the child with lukewarm (NOT cold) water
Continue to monitor temperature
Once cooled and convulsion has ceased place in the recovery position
Cover with cotton sheet
If temperature rises again, repeat tepid sponging procedure
The above is not a substitute for professional first aid training. For details of paediatric first aid courses in your area please call Safe and Sound on 0208 449 8722 or go to www.safeandsound.uk.net. Email:
Safe and Sound will offer any au pair or family member a 10% discount when registering on a course if you mention that you found them via Universal Au Pairs.