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23.08.12

Babysitters should receive first aid training in schools – Daycare Trust

First aid training in schools should be compulsory as part of the National Curriculum, the Daycare Trust has stated. A new report on young babysitters examined the issues and experiences of the young people involved, parents’ satisfaction and child safety and welfare.

The report found that young babysitters are crucial to the UK economy, with one third of 15-24 year olds who provide informal childcare doing so to help their parents work. One in six babysitters in this age group provide childcare to relatives, family friends or as paid babysitters to unrelated families.

The Daycare Trust found that many of these babysitters provide a significant number of hours per week, often on a regular basis. For some young people, the obligation to babysit can impact on their ability to complete homework or to socialise with friends, but the majority are happy with the role, and feel it offers them a rewarding experience which builds confidence.

From this research, the Daycare Trust is recommending making first aid training universal for all secondary school students, and is calling on local authorities to ensure that working parents have sufficient childcare.

To meet this demand, there needs to be an expansion in the supply of affordable forms of childcare, more registered childminders and nurseries. Health visitors should also reinforce the messages about safe babysitting practices, they recommend.

Anand Shukla, chief executive of Daycare Trust said: “With this report we have looked for the first time at a crucial, but long overlooked cog in the childcare wheel – that of the role of babysitters.

“There are some simple but effective ways babysitting practices could be improved, in the interests of parents, children, and babysitters alike, such as through mandatory first aid training in schools.

“Ultimately, parents should never be in a position where they are forced to use babysitters because other childcare is either unaffordable or unavailable at the times they require. To make this happen, an expansion in out-of-hours childcare is urgently needed, and must be addressed by the government’s Childcare Commission.”

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