Safety Tips for Grandparents Providing Child Care 

The U.S. Census Bureau says that grandparents provide child care for almost a quarter (23%) of children under the age of five. That number is even higher for youngsters who live only with their dads. Grandparents watch more than a third (34%) of these children. An even higher percentage (38%) of Hispanic preschoolers receives child care from their grandparents.  The following safety tips can help grandparents provide a safe setting when they provide child care for their grandchildren:    

Make a list of contact information.  Have parents’ contact information handy so you don’t have to search for it. Write down office, cell and pager numbers. If parents are traveling, get the phone number of the hotel or home where they’re staying.  Be sure to include the children’s doctor and dentist, local hospital, fire and police departments, the children’s schools, and poison control center.  

Get a “Letter of Permission”.  This letter should say that you are responsible for your grandchildren for a specified period of time. It should also give you permission to seek medical and dental care for them, and to deal with all school-related issues. A parent should sign and date the letter. Keep this letter handy in case a doctor or teacher wants to see it.

Prepare for medical emergencies.  Be sure to have a copy of the child’s health insurance cards, a list of prescription drugs the child may be taking, or a list of allergies the children have.  You should also be aware of any illnesses the child has, and know where a well-stocked first aid kit is located.

Make sure the house is child proof.  If you’re watching your grandchild at your home, it is important to make sure the house is safe for young children.  Find great child-proofing tips at

Take a CPR/First Aid class.  The ability to stay calm in an emergency situation can sometimes be a matter of life and death. Receiving training in lifesaving techniques and CPR certification can provide grandparents with the ability to save their grandchild's life, should the need arise.  Contact your local American Red Cross chapter to find CPR classes available near you.