January 8, 2010, Newsletter Issue #13: Licensed to Drive

Tip of the Week

If you are considering hiring a younger babysitter to watch after your little one, you may want to consider the benefits and pitfalls of hiring a teenager with a driver's license. On one hand, you would benefit from having a person in your home who is able to drive in case of an emergency. However, if this same teenager has a license you may spend your night out worrying about whether or not they are taking your child to another place, even a place as innocent as the city park, without your permission.

Ask for a copy of the babysitter's license before hiring her. This provides you with a detailed description and record of the person in charge of your child in case anything were to happen. You should discuss with her ahead of time which places, if any, you will allow your child to go visit during your absence. You should set clear, approved hours for this mini-trip. You will also need to talk with the babysitter about carseat needs and safety concerns about riding in a car with another driver. It would be a good idea to have the sitter call you before taking your child anywhere just in case you come home early to find an empty house. Avoid the panic and drama by setting clear guidelines from the beginning and you may find that giving your babysitter and child room to breathe while you are gone will be appreciated and enjoyed.

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