Use someone who already knows your child if possible. You may be able to trade babysitting duties with friends who also have children. Never use a sitter less than 12 years of age.
If you cannot use someone you know, get recommendations from family and friends. If you need to hire a new sitter, be sure to check references. Get to know the person before letting her care for your child. Arrange for the sitter to meet your child before babysitting if possible.
It helps to share information with babysitters, both when you first talk to them and when you leave the house. This gives the babysitter a better idea of what you expect. Allow enough time to go over your list and show the sitter around your house. Point out where to find things they may need and talk about the fire escape plan and emergency exits.
Be sure to write down important information so the sitter can refer to it after you leave.
Here is some information the babysitter should have while you are away:
Make sure the sitter:
If you do not have a land-line in your home, make sure the sitter has a cell phone that is fully charged and has phone reception at your home.
If you plan to use an older sibling as a babysitter, make sure he is mature enough to handle the responsibility. Do not assume your teen knows what to do. It helps to have your teen take the American Red Cross babysitter class or other similar course.