Babysitting Facts…. Did you know?

Babysitting is something which every parents will need help with at some point, because lets face it we work hard to care for and raise these tiny humans and we think its fair to say taking a break once in a while is ok.

Some people will use family, or friends for babysitting whilst others will chose to use a babysitter and pay them. When it comes to babysitting and professional services though did you know these facts?


1. Babysitting has been around since the 1800’s

The concept of babysitting has been around for a long time and was first recorded as far back as 1800’s when the term “sit” was used to describe the role of a person caring for a young baby while they slept. It was more commonly used from 1920’s, and reached a peak in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The role was primarily used to describe a young girl (teens) who would provide temporary care for a younger child.  

With more being understood about the risks to children during care scenario’s, parents are choosing to opt more for an older and childcare qualified babysitter.


2. Babysitting agencies and websites are not regulated by Ofsted

Ofsted do not regulate any childcare offered to children within their own home between the hours of 6pm – 2am and this includes their voluntary register which is also unavailable to those offering care between these hours. As odd as it seems they do not appear to have an interest in ensuring the care provided to children in their own home (such as nanny or babysitting) is of a minimum standard. Whilst it is not mandatory for a nanny to be registered with Ofsted, most are these days and parents are also becoming more aware of this and will choose those who are registered.


3. There is no minimum age for leaving a child home alone

Strange as it may seem, there’s no set age for leaving children home alone. The law simply says that you shouldn’t leave a child alone if they’ll be at risk. That’s said it is fair to say that babies, toddler and young children should never be left home alone even when just nipping to the shop or if the child is asleep (NSPCC).

Although there is no minimum age, there is law which protects children if they are left at home alone. Parents and carers can be prosecuted for neglect if it is judged that they placed a child at risk by leaving them at home alone or in the care of a person deemed unsuitable to provide care.


4. There no legal age for babysitting

Just like leaving a child home alone, there is no minimum legal age for babysitting, however NSPCC strongly advise against using a babysitter under the age of 16 years as those younger are rarely considered mature enough to provide care to a child.

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5. A DBS certificate is only valid on the day it is printed

When a DBS check is completed a search is conducted against the national computer for any warnings or convictions known about a person. The certificate is printed on the day the check is completed, and therefore is valid at the point of printing however in real terms this does not cover any crime that the person may have committed the following day, or those occasions a person has been arrest but not charged.

So why complete a DBS if its only valid on the day? Well, whilst it is not possible to be 100% sure using a DBS check that a person is safe, it is fair to say that completing an updated one is a big step to minimising the risks, as any warnings or convictions the person has had previously will be displayed. With this in mind the important factor here is to ensure checks are done regularly and not as a ‘one time action’. Not all agencies and websites enforce that a babysitter has a DBS check and most babysitting services will check a persons DBS check and then use ‘good faith’ that the person does not commit any crimes which would raise concern about their care of a child. As we all know however those who are a risk to children do not admit this when asked at a later date just because they have an agreement with an agency to declare any criminal offenses. Be sure when using a babysitting service that they not only check all babysitters for a DBS check but that this is completed regularly during their registration.


6. Paediatric first aid certificates last for 3 years.

When a person undertakes a paediatric first aid certificate this is valid for 3 years. Whilst the skills they have learnt will still aid them in saving a persons life, the methods of safe practice for first aid change often and therefore it is always recommended that a person retakes a first aid course after 3 years.

Again most babysitting agencies, websites and apps, will check for first aid status however they never re-check these so cannot be assured that a person has the appropriate skills and knowledge to administer safe first aid.


7. Babysitters are not always met face to face by the agency, website or app during recruitment.

The largest and well known babysitting websites, agencies and apps have never meet their babysitters face to face. In fact it is rather concerning that one of the largest nationwide agencies only conduct a 30 minute phone call with their babysitters as their method of interview.  The babysitters are then made available to book by families who have not met the sitter before either and are entrusting the agency to have completed appropriate checks and interviews to be sure that the sitter is suitable and safe.

It is our view that you cannot get a true sense of a person via video call or on the phone and it is easy to miss body language signals this way. In fact it is not even possible to be sure the person who is answering your questions in interview is the same person applying for the position if this is done via phone.

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Why use SafeCircle Sitters?

SafeCircle Sitters is aiming to set a new standard in babysitting, an industry which currently has no regulations or minimum standards. It is our view that childcare offered in a families home should be of the same minimum standard as that offered in a education setting (ie nursery or school), and we are passionate about paving a way forward for this. The standard of care should not change just because of the environment a professional service is offer such as childcare or the hours in which the care if offered. 

Here at SafeCircle Sitters we promise that our babysitters are of the highest caliber through our stringent recruitment process which ensures that EVERY babysitter;

  • Is over 21 years old
  • Has a childcare related qualification
  • Has a minimum of 2 years professional childcare experience
  • Has a DBS check under 3 years old
  • Has a Paediatric First Aid certificate under 3 years old
  • Has a minimum of two professional childcare references
  • Has been met face to face during an intense interview, which assesses not only their childcare capability but their personality to ensure they meet our expectations as a SafeCircle Sitter.

If you are looking for a sitter, log in and have a look at who is in your area via 

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