Nanny Questions about the Children's Health and Safety
Contributed by Dorothy Popovich
Don't expect the family you are interviewing with to be just like yours, or like the family you work for now. Children can have an amazing variety of health/medical conditions, from the relatively benign sleepwalking to severe asthma. Families also have different sensitivities to safety concerns. Asking now helps you avoid assumptions that could spell career disaster.
- Do any of the children have any health problems or disability?
Are any of the children on medications? If yes, find out what your responsibility will be vis a vis the medications. Make sure you have written permission before you dispense any medications to the children.
- Is the house child-proofed, or will you child proof the house? (Outlet
covers, table corner guards, fireplace guard) Find out where poisons are stored, and if there are any areas 'off limits' to the children.
- Discuss common safety issues such as seat belts, car seats, bicycle helmets, protective gear for skating or scooter, mini-blind cords, etc. If you are uncomfortable allowing the child to bike without a helmet, this is the time to discuss with the parents. Remember, the child's safety is your highest priority as a nanny.
- May the child play in the back yard? Ride his Big Wheel in the driveway? Are there special rules for outdoor play? (One nanny worked for a family who had a white stripe painted across their driveway about 6' from the road and the children could not cross that line when they played. She was skeptical at first, but could not believe how well they observed that line!)
- Do the children know their phone number? Their address? How to dial 911? May I introduce these subjects when appropriate?
- What foods do your children typically eat? Listen carefully, this is another area where parents and nannies often have disagreement. Again, the parents make these decisions, make sure you can live within them.
- Do the children have any allergies/or medical conditions, special food
considerations? (e.g. diabetic, kosher preparations, lactose intolerance, vegetarian, picky eating)
- Can the children tie their shoes? Are they allowed to play barefoot?
- What goals would you like the nanny to focus on with him/her?
- How well do you know your neighbors? Are there homes that the children are allowed in and others that they are not? May I allow a neighbor child into your home to play with your child on occasion?
- What are your rules for dealing with the door bell? The telephone?
- Do you keep your doors locked during the day? Do you have an alarm system? Will I be shown how to arm and disarm the alarm?
This list is a work in progress. Any suggestions are appreciated, please send them to me via this website.