We have all been inundated with news of the spread of the coronavirus starting in China, then spreading to Europe and now making its way to Canada. To this point, our country has been lucky in that the spread of the virus has been relatively minimal, but there have been fifty-six cases of coronavirus diagnosed in Alberta, including one child contact case from a daycare in downtown Calgary.
When Schools Close, CarePair Babysitters Are Needed
Sunday afternoon, March 15, the Alberta government cancelled all daycares, K-12 schools and post-secondary classes within the province out of an abundance of precaution. This means that all of a sudden, tens of thousands of young children will be in need of child care. This is where CarePair babysitters rise to the challenge to help out! In your community, parents will be stuck without child care on short notice and will need qualified, reliable, helpful and MINDFUL babysitters.
That last part– mindful– is perhaps the most important aspect within the current landscape. We’ve all heard terrible stories from China or Italy about the spread of the virus and its effects And while the most impacted population groups are older people and/ or those with pre-existing conditions, babysitters must take the proper precautions when providing care for children. Luckily, these precautions are very easy and intuitive.
Ask Parents About Any Health Issues
When inquiring about the job, or answering parents, go ahead and ask them if the child or anyone in the household has been experiencing any health symptoms. Guaranteed they know what you’re referring to and will completely understand your concern. In fact, it will help ease their minds that YOU are taking this seriously, and are likely to take proper precautions with their children.
Wash Your Hands, Wash Your Hands, Wash Your Hands
This can’t be repeated enough, so I’ll leave it there. It turns out that the virus is contained within an outer layer which normal soap dissolves. Once this layer is dissolved, the virus instantly dies. Therefore, if you are an unknown/ asymptomatic (meaning, not showing symptoms) carrier of the virus, wash your hands immediately upon entering the house. That will kill any virus on your hands and prevent it from spreading inside the house to the children. Wash your hands with soap thoroughly throughout the job and encourage the children to properly wash their hands to prevent any asymptomatic spread to you.
Cough or Sneeze Into Your Arm
This is good hygiene and socially conscious behaviour anyway, but especially in the context of a viral pandemic. The virus can be expelled by coughing or sneezing and it is recommended to stay at least 2 metres or 6 feet from someone coughing or sneezing. That isn’t really possible when in babysitting contact with children inside a house, so the best defense against any latent viral spread is to sneeze into the crook of your elbow, instead of your hands. Wash any exposed skin with soap and lightly wash or rinse any clothing on your arm (though it is thought that cloth is not a good transmitting surface).
It’s likely the parents have done this already, but don’t assume anything. Ask for soap or disinfectant wipes so you can easily wipe down surfaces such as fridge handles, faucets, door knobs, TV remotes etc. Basically, anything that gets touched a lot should be disinfected. Do this throughout the job as the surfaces get retouched often. Again, be sure to ask the parents for disinfectant or soap supplies. Judging by the lineups of people buying them in Calgary recently, odds are they have supplies!
Chinese researchers are working on using Ultraviolet radiation to kill the coronavirus, but what this means to us is that light from the sun helps to kill the virus. Luckily, Calgary is one of the sunniest parts of Canada, and the forecast looks particularly sunny for at least the next week. So bundle the kids up and take them outside to make snowmen in the melting snow; you can have fun and stay safe! Of course, even outside make sure to practice proper sneezing and coughing technique and make sure everyone washes their hands when they get back inside.
Is It Safe to Babysit?
All of this sounds serious and maybe even scary. Most of these are precautions borne of an abundance of safety. The motto is, it’s better to overreact than underreact, in this circumstance. The reality is that in Canada as of now, only 9 people out of every million have been diagnosed with the virus. From the same chart, the hardest hit country has been Italy, where only 409 out of every million people have been diagnosed. This is not to say take it lightly; understanding the situation helps you as a babysitter make better choices. It is the responsibility of all of us to stop this viral spread and with the proper precautions you can ensure you don’t contract the virus while babysitting, or pass it along to the household you enter.
To summarize, proper babysitting precautions for preventing the spread of coronavirus are:
- Ask parents about any health issues
- Wash your hands ( times infinity!)
- Proper cough and sneeze technique
- Disinfect surfaces
- Get outside
Stay safe CarePair babysitters in Calgary!