Leaving an Au Pair in sole charge of children
Please note that whilst it can be acceptable for some au pairs to have sole charge of children whilst parents are either out at work or out for an evening at a social event. The following conditions must be adhered to:
- You must be satisfied that your au pair knows what to do in any emergency, including basic first aid and emergency contact numbers – yours’, neighbours’, emergency services, school etc. (We can recommend excellent first aid courses to you)
- The au pair must feel confident that they have been told & shown everything they need to know and agree to being ready to have sole care of the child/ren
- The au pair may not have sole care of a child under the age of 3 years. There should be no sole care whatsoever of a baby under the age of 2, however, after sufficient training and if voluntarily agreed to by the au pair she/he may babysit for a child of 2yrs + so long as it is evenings only and once the parents have already put the child to bed. Once the above 2 points are satisfied then it is ok for the au pair to babysit for an evening or an hour or two per week during the daytime when required but more regular, longer periods of sole care will require a nanny / junior nanny.
- Au Pairs are not trained or qualified child-carers and therefore cannot be put in sole charge of your children overnight. They should not be asked to work (be on duty/in charge) for more than 10 hours at any one time.
If you require overnight care, or maybe a weekend of sole care then we recommend you engage a temporary or occasional nanny. Alternatively you can ask a grandparent!
We understand that it can be tempting to ask your au pair to take on this responsibility, and the au pair, not having thought through the possible consequences might even offer their help (in exchange for overtime pay) but please do not take the risk and bear these points in mind:
- If you are away and one of your children falls ill, would the au pair know how to evaluate symptoms and evaluate the gravity of the illness (meningitis for example)?
- If the au pair did take the child to hospital, she/he would not have the authority to authorise any medical procedure, and what if you do not have phone signal or do not get to your phone in time?
- How would your au pair reach the hospital or doctor quickly? What would they do with any other children in their care?
- If the au pair, being young and untrained, did not recognise a serious symptom and did not take appropriate or immediate action, what could the consequences be for your child/ren, for you and for the au pair?
Thank you for your attention.