Choose your partner/caregiver carefully...your baby is counting on you.
Child Abuse Prevention Month 2011-2013
Very few people believe that someone they love or trust could ever hurt their child, but it happens.
Choosing an appropriate caregiver, including a care-giving partner, is one of the most important decisions a parent can make. Just because someone is a lover, relative or close friend does not mean they are capable of taking care of a child.
- How well do you know the person who will be
caring for your child?
- Do they make good decisions?
- Are they responsible and trustworthy?
If you wouldn’t leave your valuables with this person, don’t leave your baby with them.
Precious Baby, Thoughtful Choice. Choose Your Caregiver Carefully
As part of a campaign to help raise awareness, DHS, the Fred Rogers Company, Family Resources, and A Child's Place at Mercy, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, partnered to develop this video to remind parents and new moms to choose a caregiver or babysitter carefully. Students and teachers from the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh also assisted in the production.
Questions to ask yourself:
- How does s/he treat other people in her/his life? How does s/he treat other children (nieces, nephews, friends’ children)?
- Does s/he get angry when you spend time with your child?
- Does s/he get angry or impatient when your child cries or has a tantrum?
- Does s/he call your child bad names or put him down?
- Does s/he think it’s funny to scare your child?
- Does s/he make all the decisions for you and your child?
- Does s/he put you down, tell you that you’re a bad parent or that you shouldn’t have your kids?
- Does s/he pretend when he hurts your child that you are to blame or that it’s no big deal?
- Does s/he tell you that your child is a nuisance?
- Does s/he scare your child by using guns or knives or other weapons?
If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, your child could be at risk. Never leave your child with someone you don’t trust with your child’s life.
Choose your partner carefully. Your child’s life depends on it. Never leave your child with someone you don’t trust to keep your child safe. Many children are harmed each year by unrelated adults who just don’t know how to take care of a child. Your baby is counting on you to make the right decision. Contact the Parenting WARMLINE at Family Resources, 1-800-641-4546, for more information and support.
When choosing a caregiver, you should select someone who:
- has experience caring for babies and young children
- is patient and mature enough to care for an excited or crying baby
- understands that young children must always be watched
- will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or withhold food from a child as punishment
- does not abuse alcohol or drugs or carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using drugs, or carrying weapons
Before leaving your child in someone’s care, ask about the caregiver’s experience and how that person would respond to an upset or unwell child. Post an emergency contact list in a visible place, on your refrigerator, for example.
Make sure your caregiver knows what to do when your baby won’t stop crying:
- check to see if she or he is hungry, wet, cold, or hot, etc.
- offer a pacifier
- walk around holding the baby close to you, in your arms or in a carrier; try talking or singing
- call a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor who is able to come over and talk to you
- if all else fails, put the baby in the crib on her or his back, making sure the child is safe and check in every five minutes or so. It is much better to let the baby cry than to do something to stop the crying that may be harmful
- never shake the child—shaking a baby or can cause bleeding in the brain that can injure or kill a child. It takes only a few seconds of shaking to seriously hurt a baby’s brain
The warning signs of a potentially dangerous caregiver include:
- being angry or very impatient when children have tantrums, cry, or misbehave
- being violent and/or controlling with his partner
- being physically or verbally abusive toward children
- abusing alcohol and drugs, including marijuana
- using prescription medications that have bad side effects or make the person drowsy
- being untrustworthy for any reason
Contact the Parenting WARMLINE at Family Resources, 1-800-641-4546, for more information and support.
Choose Your Partner Carefully - Your Baby is Counting on You (brochure)
Elige a tu pareja atentamente – tu bebé depende de ti (folleto)
Choose Your Caregiver Carefully - Your Baby is Counting on You (brochure)
Elige a tu proveedor de cuidado atentamente – tu bebé depende de ti (folleto)
"Your Baby is Counting on You" flyer
"Your Baby is Counting on You" poster (11" x 14")
Choose your partner/caregiver carefully....your baby is counting on you
DHSNews, March 2011
DHSNews, April 2012
DHSNews, April 2013
Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin, April 2012
24-hour child protective services
Keeping children safe from abuse and neglect is the mandate of the DHS Office of Children, Youth and Families. Anyone who suspects that a child under the age of 18 years is being abused or is a victim of neglect may report his/her concerns by calling ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 or the CYF Intake Office at 412-473-2000.
Child Abuse Prevention Month Information
Great resources from the Child Welfare Information Gateway for parents, providers and the general public to help Child Abuse Prevention Month be even more effective.
Making decisions as a parent can be overwhelming. Deciding if your child is ready to be left home alone is a very important one. The information found by following this link will help you think about options that you may not have considered. Remember there are places you can turn for ideas. Consider making decisions with the help of other people who care about you and your children.
Intervening to defuse a stressful child-parent situation
We are all responsible for the safety of children. Find ideas about how to intervene in some common stressful child-parent situations.
Kids fire safety
Fires in homes are particularly dangerous for children four years of age and younger. With the United States in the middle of an especially cold winter, FEMA, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Commission on Children and Disasters, teamed up to call families and communities to action to keep our nation’s children safe. The link above presents simple steps that can prevent fires and protect children.
Safe sleep for infants
Infants and children under the age of one year are particularly vulnerable when they sleep. DHS developed a Safe Sleep ActionAlert to help staff members, parents and/or caregivers of infants remember the best ways to ensure an infant's safe sleep. Our goal is to reduce infant deaths associated with unsafe sleep practices.
Soothing a crying baby
Babies cry. Sometimes their crying can go on for a long time. Caregivers may be stressed when the baby in their care keeps crying. This page has ideas about where to call for support and also ideas to help you soothe a crying baby. The page also reminds caregivers NEVER to shake an infant. Shaking an infant can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
Taking simple precautions to keep weapons and other dangerous items secured safely out of the reach of children could make the difference between life and death. The Child Gun Safety site provides safety suggestions for persons who have firearms in their home.
About Child Abuse Prevention Month 2012
In 2012, Allegheny County continues the important campaign “Choose your partner /caregiver carefully… your baby is counting on you” for Child Abuse Prevention Month. New this year, DHS, Family Resources and A Child’s Place at Mercy, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health Systems, partnered with the Fred Rogers Company, the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and the Pittsburgh Police to help raise awareness about this crucial part of caring for infants and children.
Two brochures are now available to bring attention to issues that any parent should consider when choosing a caregiver and choosing a partner, particularly a caregiving partner. The "Choose your caregiver carefully" brochure includes a special removable checklist featuring tips for handling a baby in distress, while the "Choose your partner carefully" brochure updates the 2011 campaign material.
About Child Abuse Prevention Month 2011
The Allegheny County theme of the 2011 Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign, is “Choose your partner/caregiver carefully…your baby is counting on you.” DHS, Family Resources, and A Child’s Place at Mercy, part of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, are partnering again to raise public awareness about this important aspect of caring for infants and children.
This public awareness campaign, initially underwritten in part by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, the Center for Minority Health, and UPMC Health Plan, encourages parents to select a caregiver who has experience caring for babies and young children and is patient and mature enough to care for an agitated or crying baby.