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Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2004 - 1:57am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

We have used lots of teenage babysitters during my pa dd's nine years of life. It was scary at first, but as a couple of others have mentioned: teenagers can be very responsible and can sometimes be more familiar with severe food allergies than adults. I also always make it very clear that they should call me on my cell phone with any questions at all. I show them how to use the epi-pen and explain that all foods from our house are safe. I used to emphasize that they shouldn't bring any of their own food but they were welcome to eat as much and anything they wanted at our house.
We've had NO problems, ever, thank goodness.
Good luck! I find that it is so important for dh and I to get some time alone, even though we honestly don't arrange for it nearly as often as we should.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2004 - 2:35am
ceross's picture
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Joined: 01/27/2004 - 09:00

Everyone,
Thanks for your thoughts and advice. I am considering using one of the teenagers in our neighborhood (a new, planned community). He is in high school, is a Red Cross certified babysitter, plays sports and seems responsible. He lives a block away, which is nice to know that his parents could be close by as well. I had actually contacted him about keeping our then 2.5 year old occupied the day we moved in but he had football practice after school that day. I was very heartened by his quick, polite response (something that seems so rare these days).
Our DD is in daycare and I love her teachers. However, most of her teachers have extremely long commutes to the daycare center (more than 1 hour). We had actually set this up at her old daycare when she was 6 months old (well, before egg and peanut allergy diagnosed) but cancelled because of the Washington sniper situation. We were going out to a place 2 miles from one killing about 3 days after the murder. It just didn't seem right for the first babysitting experience.
We have a peanut and nut free house (and mostly egg free--with the exception of some snacks [Milano cookies] kept very high up), and I would have him babysit at our house, so that would mitigate that risk. I plan on meeting him beforehand and might do something where I hire him to watch her while I do some work around the house just to see how he would handle the situation. Might also talk to his parents and explain the situation.
My inlaws have offered to babysit but they live 43 miles away in a retirement community. Their condo is not child proof or nut-free. We did recently leave DD with MIL for an hour while we met with an accountant and she seemed nervous about the Epi. I packed DDs own food and plates and made it clear that DD was only to get provided food. All went well. But I do think it's a bit much for my inlaws to keep up with a nearly 3 year old; they're in their late 60s and early 70s and have health/mobility issues.
Sorry for the long post. It was very helpful for me to get the thoughts of parents who have dealt with this longer than I have. Thanks again.
Colleen

Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2004 - 2:41am
CorinneM1's picture
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Joined: 06/20/2002 - 09:00

I have left my child with a teenage sitter, my neice. I have given her instructions on how to use the epipen and what follow up to do (call 911, then me).
My son loves her and knows her well so leaving him with her is not that big of a deal. However since your son has not had a sitter, I would recommend the following: ask around for recommendations and once you meet someone, ask for references to other families that they have sat for. Start slow, have her come in to be a "mommies helper" a few times (ie, she plays with your child while you do some chores, make dinner, or have her help you around the house a bit). This gives you the opportunity to work with her, and see how she interacts with your child.
Then, have her come over to be a mommies helper and leave for a short period of time...run a few short errands, go shopping etc. Then go to dinner with hubby, but go early and come home to put your child to bed. Do this a few times and then have the sitter put your child to bed. It will take a little while, but I personally think that this is a better way to have your child trust and feel comfortable around someone new, and it will allow you as well to relax when you go out.
Of course my son does not to eat anything that I have not laid out in advance, and we are basically a nut free house to begin with.

Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2004 - 3:02am
StaceyK's picture
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Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

.
[This message has been edited by StaceyK (edited October 21, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/16/2004 - 7:18am
California Mom's picture
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Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

I am sure that one of the reasons I do feel so comfortable about the pa issue with teenage babysitters is because my pa child is now nine years old. I was much more anxious and worried when she was younger. Now that we - fortunately - have so many "safe" years under our belts the whole pa issue has gotten much easier and less traumatic to deal with.
I also used to baby sit extensively as a teenager. I was very loving to the children and very responsible. I am sure I could have handled a food allergy with no problem. I tend to put a lot of faith and trust into my babysitters - probably because I know how I was as a teenager. I also only use babysitters whom I either know personally (and know the parents) or have gotten an excellent recommendation from someone I trust.
I think it is a great idea to have a new sitter come over and "play" with the kid(s) first while you are home if you can. That will give you a good opportunity to see how comfortable you and/or your child are with the person. The first time you leave you can go somewhere close by and maybe pop in unexpectedly after a short while.
Good luck. Just remember that while you may need to look a bit: there [b]are[/b] excellent teenage babysitters out there.
[img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Miriam

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/2004 - 3:32am
becca's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I just want to support what Miriam says about her experience as a sitter giving her confidence in her sitters today. I have the same thoughts. Thoug I have few to no available teens!
I remember babysitting a couple of kids and seeing medications on the window sill for the girl I was watching. I was so upset that there was a medical condition of which I was unaware. Thinking back, I believe it might have been an asthma medication. I was more concerned that I know than the parent. I do not recall what I did(if I said something) but was thinking through my actions if there were an emergency. I knew I should call 911 and tell them her medications. I cannot believe to this day that I was not informed!
I also cared regularly for a severely mentally and physically impaired child, including after surgeries(mom was around, but I was helping while she slept or did her thesus). That mom learned things from me to help her exercise and play(I was an older teen in PT school).
Teens can be very responsible and cautious.
I also want to add that we have a safe snack box. All the items in that box are safe for dd, and she knows that(our home is safe, but might have things which I have not called the manufacturer on since it might be something she dislikes or never wants). I always tell the sitter about the snack box, but still leave out a safe snack for dd so nobody has to worry. becca
[This message has been edited by becca (edited March 17, 2004).]

Posted on: Wed, 03/17/2004 - 11:22pm
Jodi2boys's picture
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Joined: 01/23/2003 - 09:00

I do let my 15 year old nephew babysit my boys. I just started a few months ago...before I would only let my mother or my MIL. After realizing that my MIL put him at risk every time he was at her house, I decided to try a sitter.
He is CPR certified (during his babysitting course), I trained him on how to administer the Epipen, I leave a copy of the Emergency Action Plan, always have my cell phone on while I'm gone (I don't go far), my house is PF so I don't really have to worry about what the boys eat, he knows he can't bring any food in to my house and washes his hands when he gets there. So, I feel very comfortable leaving the boys with him.
I feel it's better than sending them to my MIL's house, where peanut products are always out in the open or in reach for my boys!
------------------
Mommy to:
Jake~ 4 yrs. old- PA
Sam~ 2 yrs. old- Not PA

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