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<p>My in-laws have been the only babysitters we have ever used, but they want us to try to find an alternate for when they aren't available, which is fair.  My boys are 3 and 5.  I am not concerned for the 3 year old, but 5 year old DS has a list of health issues that make me not want to trust some teenager with him.  I know there are a lot of bad babysitters out there who don't watch the kids closely enough.</p>
<p>DS is a brain tumour survivor.  He also has asthma and severe peanut and sesame seed allergies.  He has behavioural issues because of everything he has been through.  It is mostly his asthma at the moment that concerns me because he isn't old enough or responsible enough yet to recognize when he needs to use his puffer.  He had an hour long attack last night and we were on the verge of heading to the ER with him when we finally got it under control.  How can I trust a complete stranger with him?</p>
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<p>How do I go about finding someone I can trust?  We know nobody in our neighbourhood who we can ask for recommendations and I have seen few teenagers around.  I am thinking of putting notes on the mailboxes in the neighbourhood and hoping someone responds.  Do I insist that they have taken a babysitting course?  What age?  I am thinking at least 15 years old.  Should I trust a male? </p>
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<p>I have been putting this off forever, but no that my in-laws are requesting we find someone else I don't have much choice....</p>
 

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<p>Does your ds go to school? If so, I'd ask other parents/teachers there. Also, ask around the workplace if you or dh work. Word of mouth seems to work best for me. With your ds's issues - I'd definitely lean to someone older than even 15, although with cell phones you'd probably just be a call away. Good luck!</p>
 

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<p>I second the idea about talking your school first. Often teachers aides are looking for xtra cash. Are you looking for an occasional sitter, someone you could call when you had an app't or wanted a night out or are you looking for regular care? That can make a difference.</p>
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<p>Another option is that it sounds like your son must see a DR pretty regularly-ask around the Dr's office too. Either way you will need to do your due diligence.</p>
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<p>Since you don't know any of your neighbors and have seen few teenager around I would think that flyer's in the mailbox would be a last resort</p>
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<p>A couple of other options are:</p>
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<ul><li>Do you have a college or high school nearby?  Call the guidance office and see about advertising in the school paper, on line newsletter or posting flyer's.</li>
<li>Is there a local community center?  Call them about posting..  Maybe they even teach a babysitting class which is an awesome place to start</li>
<li>Try an on line service like <a href="http://www.sittercity.com" target="_blank">www.sittercity.com</a>.  They are not just for nannies and full time sitters</li>
<li>Do your inlaws have any friends?  Often older folks, especially those with no grandkids or grandkids far away love to babysit.  For years we had an older woman (65+) who was our regualr saturday night sitter.  She needed the xtra cash and she loved kids. My son grew to think of her as another grandmother.  Win/Win!</li>
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<p>In terms of trust?  That only comes with time (and plenty of background/reference checks, LOL!) </p>
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<p>I would first that you ask LOTS of "what if" and What would you do if" questions, especially for a younger sitter.  "What if our son had difficulty breathing?", "What if a stranger came to the door?"</p>
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<p>I would also start by hiring them as a mother helper and work up to time away.That will give you chance to "see them in action" and make it easier to a level of comfort and trust.</p>
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<p>Just thought of this: will they need to be able to use a epipen?  Important question to ask up front as some people can be squeamish about it. I know a mom who wont do play dates with an kids that need epipens.  Freaks her out....</p>
 

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I totally hear you. My kids both have severe food allergies (btwn them nuts, peanuts, sesame, egg) and both require epipens with them at all times. We had used my parents a lot, plus one of my good friends, but had asked our school secretary about recent grads and was given 4 names. We had the oldest girl, 14, come by for a few practice runs, where I was in the house, but had a meeting, etc, after giving her a thorough briefing on allergies and epipen. Turned out she had looked after a lot of neighbourhood kids plus her own mother is allergic to bee stings so she already was familiar with epipen.<br><br>
She is great, and the kids love her. She's a very responsible and mature 14 yo.<br><br>
I'm glad we got her set up because I was in a car crash in mid Oct and have broken bones in one arm and one leg, so we are relying on my parents plus this sitter and a nanny to help look after the kids while I recuperate.<br><br>
Another option would to check with a local college's ECE program to see if any students have some spare time. We also have a friend who found a female firefighter wanting to make extra money on her days off.
 

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<p>I would also check with community centers, or if you have a local pool you could ask around with the lifeguards (trained in CPR/first aid/shoudl be familiar with epipens but would learn fast).  I wouldn't rule out teens - but would screen them carefully and wouldn't use any that weren't local (like on the same street, walking distance from your house - you want them to be able to call you AND their own parents if they need help, ie, if they need to call an ambulance they would have built in back-up for the child who did not need to go to hospital).</p>
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<p>If you check with your childrens teachers at school (are they in school?  I don't remember if you said), they may have some good reccomendations of where to start.</p>
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<p>Do you attend church, or any other community groups?  Talking to other parents is a great way to find sitters and get recommendations.  You'll need to screen carefully, and make sure to teach potential sitters about your ds's allergies and asthma. </p>
 
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