Being knowledgeable in basic first aid and CPR is important for au pairs (and anyone else caring for children). Au Pair in America’s commitment to infant/child safety begins before au pairs arrive to the U.S., with pre-arrival training and continue throughout the au pair year.
#1 Training At Orientation
Our orientation includes seminars by American Red Cross instructors who provide hands-on demonstrations in infant/child CPR and safety. Printed materials are provided that reinforce the safety information and can be used to review from time to time.
#2 Enroll in a Red Cross Certification Class
After settling into their host community, all au pairs are encouraged to complete an Infant/Child CPR and First Aid certification program. Au Pair in America will pay for this training through the American Red Cross.
Classes are available through the Red Cross. Au Pair in America will pay for the cost of a class providing an au pair has at least six months left on her visa and is taking one of several approved childcare/child safety-related classes, such as Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED. Au pairs should check with their community counselor and host family before signing up. Au Pair in America will register the au pair directly.
To locate a class, visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass. For step-by-step instructions on how to locate a class and have Au Pair in America complete enrollment, click here.
#3 Stay Current on Safety Information
The Official American Red Cross First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand. Available for iPhone and Android devices, this app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice, it’s never been easier to know first aid. Download the app for free from the American Red Cross website or in your app store.
Photos: Robin Leon
We live in a time of constant sharing through social media. We often share pictures, plans of somewhere we are going or rants about problems, without thinking much about who will see it and what could be the consequences.
Before clicking “post”, stop to think:
- Am I violating someone’s privacy?
- Am I sharing personal info. that could put me in danger?
- Would I want my current or a future employer to see this?
This will help protect your privacy and safety as well as that of your host family. It is important to respect your host family’s privacy and not share personal details and information. This applies to all kinds of situations, including: personal conversations, email and social websites.
For your own safety, it is a good idea to be careful what personal information you share about yourself as well. You should not give out information like your telephone number and address to people you don’t know. Safer to meet a new friend in a public place, than to give them your address before knowing them.
Once you post something on the internet (even if you later delete it), it can show up elsewhere. Unless you have specific permission from your host family, you should never post pictures of them, their children or their home on the internet.
If you have a blog or website where you post in your native language, remember there is translation software. So, even if you say it in your native language, be sure it is not something that might be misinterpreted in translation or something you will regret saying.
- Remember to bring along drinks, especially water. Try to get children to drink water every 20 minutes, when they are outside in hot weather.
- Pay attention to surfaces that can be hot against children’s skin, such as metal slides and other playground equipment in the sun.
- Safety around water is particularly important. A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Whenever you are near water you must never leave a child alone – if the phone rings, take them with you or let it ring! Always stay within arm’s reach when the children are in or near water.
- Young babies should be kept out of direct sunlight. Keep the baby in the shade or under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy.
- Dress babies in lightweight clothing and use brimmed hats.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, even if it appears overcast (cloudy).
- Try to keep children out of the sun in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest.
- Learn what poison ivy looks like and keep children out of it. A good rule to teach the children is “leaves of three, let it be.”
- Use insect repellent spray to keep away mosquitos and ticks. Ask your host parents before applying.
- Check for ticks when you bring children in from playing outside, especially if you’ve been in tall grass or the woods.
Photo: Scott97006 (Flickr)
Dehydration means that the body lacks the necessary amount of fluid. Infants and small children are more likely to become dehydrated than older children or adults, because they can lose relatively more fluid quickly.
Here are some steps to take to make sure children remain hydrated in the summer months:
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of water. On hot days, children should drink significantly more water than usual, as they are losing more due to the heat.
- Do not wait until your child is thirsty to give him water. By the time they feel thirsty, they are already becoming dehydrated.
- If your child is resistant to drinking enough water, have other liquids on hand for your child to drink throughout the day.
- Be alert to changes in behavior. A child may act confused or more irritable when they are becoming dehydrated/overheated. Get them into cooler temperatures and drinking more fluids.
- Dress your child in lightweight clothing in the summer months, particularly if she’ll be playing outdoors in warm weather. You may also consider clothes that are well ventilated as they do not trap heat close to the body.
- When there are heat and/or air quality advisories because the weather is dangerously hot, you should avoid taking the children outdoors. Check with your host parents for further guidance on this topic.
Remember to follow these tips for yourself too, so you stay well hydrated.
Photo: Darwin Bell (Flickr)
Au Pairs often find themselves driving the kids around to activities. Be sure to know the rules of the road in order to be safe and avoid getting a fine. The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop the car.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
- It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended. Vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway. Failure to stop can result in high fines which the au pair has to pay, not the host family.