Safe + Sound has been running the Canadian Red Cross Babysitting program for 20+ years in Coquitlam, BC. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from parents and caregivers about kids babysitting and being home alone.
Q: What is the legal age to babysit in BC?
A: There’s no minimum legal age for when children can become babysitters in Canada, and it’s not uncommon for them to start as early as 12 years old. Many people believe that the legal age is different when you are babysitting brothers and sisters. This is not the case.
Q: What is the legal age to leave a child at home alone in BC?
A: In British Columbia, there is no legislated minimum age for leaving a child alone for a short period. However, according to a B.C. Supreme Court decision, children under the age of 10 should not be left unsupervised at home. Read more: https://bit.ly/2Cqc4X3
Q: What kind of training can kids do to prepare themselves to babysit?
A: The Canadian Red Cross offers a babysitting course for kids between 11 and 15 years old. The program is focused on child care, first aid, injury prevention, leadership and business skills.
Q: What do kids learn on a Red Cross Babysitting course?
A: A Red Cross Babysitting Course includes the following topics:
- How to be responsible and demonstrate leadership
- How to make good decisions and manage difficult behaviours
- Information on children’s developmental stages and specific strategies for each stage
- How to feed, diaper, dress and play with children and babies
- How to recognize and prevent unsafe situations, make safe choices and promote safe behaviours
- First aid skills
- The business of babysitting
Q: What age do kids have to be to take a Red Cross Babysitting course?
A: Children need to be 11-15 years of age or have completed Grade 5.
Q: When a child has taken the Babysitting course will they be qualified to babysit?
A: A child will gain useful skills and knowledge on the Babysitting course. After the class, they will be more prepared and confident to babysit. The Babysitting course is a participation class. There is no testing of skills and therefore no “qualification” Whether or not the child is ready to take on the responsibility of babysitting is left to the discretion of the child’s parent or guardian. There is no such thing as a “babysitter’s license” for kids.
Q: What are the qualifications of the babysitting course instructor?
A: To teach the Canadian Red Cross Babysitting program, you must be a certified Red Cross Youth Leader. Many Youth Leaders are also Red Cross First Aid instructors.
Q: Is the Red Cross Babysitting course appropriate for child care workers and adult babysitters?
A: No – the Babysitting course is designed for 11-15 year olds. If you are a child care worker or an adult who babysits children, we recommend you take the Red Cross Emergency Child Care First Aid & CPR Level B course.
Q: Where can I find more information about Red Cross Babysitting courses?
We look forward to meeting your child and their friends soon!