Virtual Babysitting Training, also referred to as Online Babysitting Training has become very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Red Cross developed the Virtual Babysitting course as a response to concerns from parents about children attending in-person group classes.
Red Cross Babysitting Training includes basic first aid and caregiving skills for youth aged 11–15 years old. Participants learn how to provide care to younger children in a variety of age groups, and how to prevent and respond to emergencies. The course also offers youth the training to promote themselves safely as a babysitter to prospective parents.
Frequently asked questions about Virtual Babysitting Training
Q: How old do you have to be to take a Virtual Babysitting course?
A: Participants must be 11 years of age or older (or must have completed Grade 5). The Virtual Babysitting course is designed for children aged 11-15 years.
Q: My child is not yet 11 years old. Is there an online safety course they can take?
A: Children aged 9-13 can take our Home Alone Safety for Kids online course.
Q: How much does a Red Cross Babysitting course cost?
A: You can find course information and current pricing here
Course length and timing
Q: How long is a Red Cross Virtual Babysitting class?
A: A Red Cross Virtual Babysitting class is 7 hours long including breaks.
Q: Is the Red Cross Babysitting course a one day class or is it split into two or more sessions?
A: A Red Cross Babysitting course can be run over a single day or split into two or more sessions.
Qualifications and certification
Q: What are the qualifications of a Red Cross Babysitting course instructor?
A: Red Cross Babysitting course instructors are certified Red Cross Youth Leaders.
Q: Will my child get a certificate when they’ve taken their Red Cross Babysitting class?
A: Yes. Children receive a Red Cross Babysitting participation certification on completion of the class.
Q: When my child has taken a Red Cross Virtual Babysitting course, will they be qualified to babysit?
A: Your 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.
Q: How many participants are there in a Virtual Babysitting class?
A: The Canadian Red Cross allows a maximum of 15 children in a Virtual Babysitting class.
Q: What topics are included in a Red Cross Virtual Babysitting course?
A: On a Red Cross Babysitting course children learn:
- How to look after babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children.
- Care for himself/herself and siblings when home alone.
- Create a safe environment, and deal with phone calls and unexpected visitors.
- React confidently in case of an emergency, such as choking, bleeding, poisoning or burns.
- Cope with common problems, such as tantrums and crying.
- Play games and organize activities to keep kids of all ages entertained.
- Manage a babysitting business. This includes creating a resume and a business card and asking the right questions before accepting a babysitting job.
First Aid Content includes:
- Check, Call, Care (includes phoning EMS/911)
- Glove removal
- Recovery position
- Conscious choking (adult/child/baby/alone)
- CPR (baby/child)
- Asthma (includes use of inhaler and spacer)
- Anaphylaxis (includes use of EpiPen)
- Insect stings
- Wound care (i.e. minor cuts and scrapes, splinters, nosebleeds, bumps and bruises
- Life-threatening bleeding, burns)
- Head, neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
Private Group Virtual Babysitting Training
Q: Can I book a private Virtual Babysitting class for my group?
A: Yes. If you have 8-15 children aged 11-15 years, you can book a private Virtual Babysitting class for your group.
Q: What materials will I need to provide for my child for use during the Virtual Babysitting class?
A: When you register your child for the class, you will receive an email confirmation with course details including what your child needs to have with them during the training. Your child will also receive a Red Cross Babysitting book and other materials in the mail. Here is a list of some of the items you may be asked to provide:
- Doll or stuffed animal (to practice baby care – holding, carrying, burping, feeding, comforting etc.
- Triangular bandage or clean tea towel (to practice bandaging life-threatening external bleeding.
- Pair of disposable gloves or any gloves available in the home (to practice safe glove removal.
- Thick marker pen or something that looks similar (to practice using an EpiPen)
- Pen and paper for note-taking
- Water bottle
There is no need to buy any of the above items. Children are encouraged to improvise with things they can find around the home.
Q: Will my child get a Red Cross Babysitting book with their course?
A: Yes. Red Cross Babysitting course students receive a copy of the Red Cross Babysitting book in the mail. If they register at least a week before the class, they should get their book before their class. If they register later, they will receive their book along with their Babysitting certificate after the class.
Q: Do participants have to set up their own Zoom account to take a virtual Babysitting class?
A: Participants are not required to have their own Zoom account to participate in a Red Cross Babysitting class. We will email a link to each participant before the class. Participants do need to have access to a computer with a webcam and microphone. This must be turned on for the duration of the class.
Q: What is the legal age to babysit in BC, Canada?
A: There is no age specified by law for babysitting. It is a matter of the parent determining if a child is responsible enough to provide a safe environment for the younger children in their care. Canadian social services organizations advise that children under 12 years should not be left at home alone.
Q: What is the legal age for leaving children unsupervised in Canada?
A: This is a difficult question as the guidelines vary in different provinces. 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.
This is a complicated issue and the guidelines are unclear. Please refer to this article from the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal: Legal Age for Leaving Children
Unsupervised Across Canada.
Q: How can I register my child in a Red Cross Virtual Babysitting class?
A: You can find information, a schedule and online registration for Virtual Babysitting classes here.
We look forward to meeting your child and their friends soon!