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.
Baby Safety Month – There are many safety tips on the Au Pair in America website.
In honor of Baby Safety Month, here are some more specific baby tips:
- If you must leave the baby alone for a few moments, be sure she is safely in a crib or play pen.
- Check condition and sturdiness of toys. Discard any with sharp edges or that are broken or falling apart.
- Check clothing for loose buttons and remove strings.
- Is baby’s pacifier still in good condition? Be sure it isn’t coming apart. Never use strings to attach the pacifier to baby’s clothes or crib.
- Where do you set baby’s carrier when she’s in it? Not on the counter or any high surface, please. Babies can wiggle and tip themselves over.
- Stroller check. If your stroller is collapsible, be sure latches are secure before putting baby in. Always check that your child’s arms are out of the way when reversing handle directions so they won’t get pinched. Be sure to use that safety strap. Don’t hang overloaded or heavy bags on the handle of the stroller, as this may cause it to tip over.
- Can you name the 12 most common choking foods for kids under five? Popcorn, hot dogs, chunks of meat, raisins, ice cubes, chunky peanut butter, peanuts (nuts of any kind), hard candy, grapes, raw carrots, potato chips and corn chips.
- Don’t leave toddlers alone while eating; if they begin to choke, you need to be nearby to assist.
- Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub. If the phone rings, let the machine get it, or bring a cordless phone into the bathroom with you. Wait until baby can sit alone to give baths in the tub. It’s easier in the sink until then.
- Enroll in an infant/child CPR and first aid class. This will be a valuable investment of your time, and Au Pair in America will pay for it.
Photo: Lisa Rosario
dialing 911 on the phone will connect you with an operator trained to handle and dispatch emergency services. It is used all across the country. School-aged children should know to call 911 also – discuss when it would be appropriate such as fire (but don’t call from the house that is burning!) or when someone seems to be seriously hurt and there is no adult to help.
With schools starting soon and many new au pairs who have recently arrived, we wanted to remind everyone about what to do in different situations with school buses. If you have questions, please ask us or your host parents.
The rules regarding stopping for school buses are:
- It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its’ stop arm is extended.
- On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- 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.
Police, who observe a motorist failing to stop and remained stopped for a school bus, can issue the violator a citation. Drivers failing to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk and drivers failing to exercise due caution when encountering children can be issued a citation.
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.
Have other liquids on hand for your child to drink throughout the day. Juices also help with hydration.
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.
Additional Safety Note: 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.
Photo: darwin Bell (Flickr)
During the summer months we need to take some added precautions to keep children safe in the sun and by the water. Here are some good tips:
- Avoid long periods of sun exposure especially between 10.00am and 4.00pm
- Apply sunscreen of at least 15 SPF that protects against both UVA and UVB rays should be worn on sunny and cloudy days.
- Infants should be dressed in lightweight clothing covering as much skin as possible and brimmed hats to shade the face
- Stay hydrated, drink water throughout the day
- Intense activities and sports should be reduced whenever high heat and humidity reach critical levels
!!!!!! Never leave children or animals in a car unattended !!!!!!
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)
From Christine Connally, Community Counselor with Au Pair in America (MD)
Is it risky to do winter sports without the sports insurance?
Yes. If you have to pay your own hospital bills for a broken bone, you might be shocked at how much that would cost. Christine checked this website for some cost estimates.
Here are a couple examples:
Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (that does not require surgery) it could cost up to $2,500.
Without medical coverage, to treat a broken arm or leg (requiring surgery) it could cost $16,000 or more.
We wanted to make sure everyone understands how the medical coverage works for sports related injuries. There is a list of “high-risk sports/activities” that are not covered with the basic or upgrade medical insurance plans. Those activities are only covered with the Sports Insurance Package (also known as Option A.)
The Sports Insurance Package was available pre-departure and may also be purchased at any time during your year. It takes effect within 48 hours of your enrollment and it is good for 12 months. The cost will be the same ($75) whether you have a month left or your whole year ahead of you. We recommend you pay for it early on, if you didn’t already purchase it. You never know when an opportunity might present itself and you don’t want to miss out on an adventure. You also don’t want to take a risk on getting injured and being responsible for the bill on your own.
Below is a partial list of sports that are only covered with the sports insurance package:
Football, Rugby, Scuba diving, Ski-doo, Wakeboarding, Skydiving, Parachuting, Rock climbing, Zip line, Skate boarding, Rollerblading, Roller skating, Ice Skating, Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowmobiles & Snowshoeing. View the full list on page 3 of the insurance brochure HERE (2013 arrival au pairs) & HERE for (2014 arrival au pairs)
Note: Injuries sustained while partaking in these sports are covered with purchase of the Sports Insurance ONLY.
How to register for the Sports Insurance
Download the form HERE and follow the instructions. It takes a few days for your coverage to begin. If you think you will be doing any of these sports, you should get it now