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Should I babysit an ill child?

how to look after an ill child ill child sick child Mar 09, 2022

This is always a tough question to answer but in short, the answer is that it depends!

Firstly, it depends on the type of illness. If the child has a non-contagious illness, such as an ear infection or a migraine then looking after the child should not be a problem at all.  However, If the child has a contagious illness such as pneumonia, coronavirus, or another type of viral condition, ie anything spread via the air or close contact- then we recommend not to offer your services to parents. Mainly because the likelihood of you contracting the illness too is very high which in turn will result in time off work yourself and in turn not earning money.

Secondly, it depends on the situation. If a parent is in a desperate situation, such as they have work presentation they have to give or they themselves have to attend a hospital appointment they have been waiting on forever, or the parents have a significant life event to attend such as a wedding or a funeral and their child is ill with a contagious illness then offering to help to look after these parents ill children will help them out tremendously. Remember it might come with some risks to yourself a few days later but judge the situation based on how well you know the family and what they require of you during the booking.

Thirdly, it depends on payment. If parents are not able to take time off work to look after their ill child, and they understand that the chances of you contracting the illness are high if agreeing to look after their child, then agreeing a higher hourly rate of pay (which will cover loss of earnings if you got sick yourself) might sway you into looking after their children. This is a risky option so make sure your hourly charge reflects the earnings you could lose for not working for the rest of the week. 

Ok so you have agreed to babysit an ill child, what now?

When a child is unwell, try and stick to their normal routine as much as possible, but also know when to give in and let them eat what they like or sleep when they want to sleep. An ill baby should be with you all of the time and an ill child will likely feel more comfortable tucked up on the sofa with the TV on near you than in bed on their own.

Here is a list of things to consider doing when looking after an ill child:

1. Keep the room airy (at about 18 degrees) but not drafty.

2. Keep them in comfortable clothes or their pajamas.

3. Give them lots of fluids to drink and food only if they want to eat. Monitor how much fluid is drunk to prevent the child from getting dehydrated. A child can go a few days without eating but not a few days without fluid.

4. Keep them occupied with simple low-energy games and activities such as puzzles, card games, or reading lots of books.

5. Let the child nap when they want to nap - be totally led by how they feel.

6. Keep everything clean with antibacterial spray and protect yourself by wearing a mask and gloves.

7. Regularly check the child's temperature but do not give any medication to the child unless the parents have given you express permission to do so including the dosage to administer.

8. Keep the parents informed throughout the day of their child's condition.

9. Have any emergency numbers on hand to call if you need to.

Childhood illnesses are very common in young children. Most of the time children just need some comfort and some rest but if you are worried that the child you are looking after is becoming more unwell during your booking with them then trust your instincts and seek medical help.

Would you babysit a sick child? We would love to hear from you at [email protected] if you would and your reasons for doing so.







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