The Red Cross poll found that in the past 24 months, 55 percent of parents surveyed decided to stay home because they couldn’t find a babysitter. The survey also found that nearly a third (30 percent) of parents rejected a potential babysitter because of safety concerns.
Parents want to entrust their children to babysitters trained in first aid, CPR and childcare skills, and more than 80 percent of parents believe that teenage babysitters should be paid more if they have these skills. However, eight in 10 parents (83 percent) have looked to adult relatives, while nearly half (48 percent) have relied on adult friends to watch their children.
"Parents want recommended sitters who have childcare training and CPR certification,” said Dr. Tener Goodwin Veenema, a member of the Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “As a mother of four, I know that there is more to choosing a babysitter than price or availability. The safety and welfare of our children is first and foremost.”
About half (51 percent) of Americans rely on unpaid babysitters, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) pay between $6 and $10 an hour for someone to watch their kids. Ten percent pay between $11 and $15 an hour; while four percent pay between $16 and $20 an hour, making babysitting a potentially lucrative option for qualified teenagers.
A majority of parents believe sitters should be paid more if they are trained to help a child who is choking, recognize potential emergency situations, identify items that could be hazardous to small children and give first aid for minor cuts and bruises. More than three in four (77 percent) of parents with children younger than 17 feel teenagers should receive some training before they begin babysitting.
The Red Cross babysitting, CPR and first aid courses teach teens how to care for young children and handle emergency situations. The American Red Cross babysitting certification course gives youth the knowledge and confidence to care for infants and school-aged children.
“Many think they can care for an infant, but they don’t remember the details – such as supporting a baby’s head – or understand why it’s important,” said Louis Hicks, training coordinator at the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter of the Red Cross. “The youth take away the confidence to be safe and know how to care for children and infants. And once they figure out that they can make money, then it adds even more value.”
The local Red Cross chapter is offering babysitting courses in which youth ages 11 to 15 can learn life-saving skills. The course, with hands-on activities and role-play, is fun and fast-paced. The two-day course runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and allows the kids to interact with one another while learning critical knowledge and skills to safely and responsibly care for children and infants. This very popular course combines video, activities, hands-on skills training and discussion for the most complete learning experience. The training includes: essential decision-making and care-giving skills; first aid and basic care skills practice; infant, child and adult CPR; skills to manage real-life problems and emergencies; and babysitting job-finding skills.
“I learned how to save someone’s life with CPR, and I learned how to save a choking infant,” said 11-year-old Mary-Katherine Womack, who received her babysitting certification June 5 at the Louisiana Capital Area Chapter. “And I also learned how to be the best babysitter.”
The upcoming two-day course in the Baton Rouge area will be held Monday, July 9, and Tuesday, July 10. Learn more at www.batonrouge.redcross.org/babysitting.
Adults can also boost their babysitting skills by enrolling in CPR and First Aid courses.
Survey details: Telephone survey of 1,082 U.S. adults 18 years and older on March 22 - April 1 conducted in ORC International’s CARAVAN® survey using a landline plus cell dual-frame sampling design.
Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level for the overall sample of 1,082 and 8.5 percentage points for the sub sample of 134 parents who used or tried to find a babysitter in the past two years.