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Choose your partner/caregiver carefully...your baby is counting on you.

CAPM 2011Very 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.

Movie Icon 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.

pdf.gif Choose Your Partner Carefully - Your Baby is Counting on You (brochure) 
pdf.gif Elige a tu pareja atentamente – tu bebé depende de ti (folleto) 
pdf.gif Choose Your Caregiver Carefully - Your Baby is Counting on You (brochure) 
pdf.gif Elige a tu proveedor de cuidado atentamente – tu bebé depende de ti (folleto)
pdf.gif "Your Baby is Counting on You" flyer
pdf.gif "Your Baby is Counting on You" poster (11" x 14")

Choose your partner/caregiver carefully....your baby is counting on you
DHSNews, March 2011   
, April 2012
DHSNews, April 2013

 Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin, April 2012  

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