The tragic death of, Tia Sharp, at the hands of of the man she called her ‘granddad’, a man she trusted and stayed with regularly, once again raises the question ‘who do trust with your children?’ Unsafe caregivers include parents, a parent’s partner, relatives, babysitters, teachers and neighbors. The majority of abusers are men; however, women and young people abuse children, too.
Warning signs of an unsafe caregiver:
- Has problems with anger or is severely impatient when children have tantrums, cry or misbehave.
- Is violent and/or controlling with their partner (s) or others.
- Is physically or verbally abusive.
- Abuses alcohol or other drugs, including Marijuana.
- Uses prescription medicine that have bad side effects, or make them drowsy.
- Is not trustworthy for any reason-trust your instincts.
- Is already stressed.
- Your child is not happy to see the caregiver, and has become anxious or withdrawn.
- Is not open about what they did during the time with your child.
- The child has had multiple accidents that could have been avoided.
- Your requests are not followed by the caregiver.
A safe caregiver:
- Has experience caring for babies and young children.
- Is patient and mature enough to care for a fussy, over-excited or crying baby.
- Understands that young children must always be watched.
- Will be only watching your child, or a limited number of children so that each child is given adequate attention.
- Will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or withhold food from a child as punishment.
- Does not abuse alcohol or other drugs, carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using or selling drugs, or carrying weapons.
- Keeps your child clean and safe-accidents are infrequent.
- Is recommended to have first aid training.
- Talks to you and asks questions, as necessary-your caregiver should be able to tell you everything your child did and discuss any concerns.
- Is aware of sleep practices-babies can suffocate if they sleep face-down so they should always be placed in a crib on his/her back with no blankets, crib bumpers, toys, or pillows that might interfere with breathing.
- Is aware of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Please consider these simple warning signs, and tips before deciding on a caregiver for your child. Think before you trust. A little planning could save a child from getting hurt. Information taken from an article written by ChildLine, UK.