Safety Tips for Babysitters: Keeping Indoor Play Areas Safe

If you’re babysitting, your job will be to keep the children within safe play areas, preferably within your sight. While in the house, you’ll have to keep them away from dangerous areas such as the kitchen, bathroom, workshop, and storage areas. Fast moving children will keep you busy.

Here are some tips on keeping play areas safe for infants and toddlers:

The Playpen

There are a few things to look out for here.

  • Remove strings of toys from across the top or sides of the playpen. They can cause strangulation.
  • If the playpen has drop sides, they should always be up and locked securely in position when a child is in the playpen.
  • Do not put any toys in the playpen that the child can stand on to climb out.
  • Keep the child's fingers away from the hinges.

High Chairs

A baby in a high chair requires almost constant attention. Babies can slip out of a high chair quickly if not properly strapped in. An unstable high chair can also tip over.

  • Make sure any safety belts or straps on the high chair are securely fastened.
  • Make sure the tray is properly secured.
  • Don’t let the child stand up while in the chair, and keep other children from climbing on it.
  • Keep the chair away from areas in the house where there is a lot of traffic, such as doorways.
  • Keep the chair away from stoves.
  • Keep the chair far enough away from walls so that the child can’t push the chair over.

The Crib

Make sure that the crib is as safe as you can make it. Here are some tips:

  • Check to see how much space is between the mattress and the side of the crib. If the space is larger than 2 fingers, an infant’s head could get caught in between and the infant could suffocate. Roll up a couple of towels and place them in the space.
  • Check the slats in the side of the crib. Make sure they conform to current safety regulations.
  • If the child is old enough to stand up, the parents should set the mattress at its lowest position, with the side rail at its highest position.
  • Check the mattress support frequently to make sure it hasn’t become unhooked from the end panels.
  • Do not leave toys in the crib that could be used to help the child climb out.
  • Do not use crib toys that may have strings or elastic attached to them—they can strangle and choke a child.
  • Beware that cribs with decorative knobs on the corner posts can lead to strangulation. Children’s clothing and strings or necklaces can catch on them, especially if the child is trying to climb out.

There are a lot of things to look out for when baby-sitting. But the absolute most important thing you can do is to watch the children at all times. This will help you keep them safe from accidental injury.


Safe Kids Worldwide
US Consumer Product Safety Commission


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children


Babysitting: the basics. Nemours Kids Health Foundation website. Available at:
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Updated March 2013. Accessed May 4, 2016.
The super sitter. US Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Available at:
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Accessed May 4, 2016.
Last reviewed May 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 5/4/2016

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