Finding the Right Babysitter for your Asthmatic Child
Having an asthmatic child is tough. There is nothing worse than watching your child struggling to breathe. Modern medicine has come a really long way as far as treatment options and medications. You know your child better than anyone else. You know his triggers, allergies, how he breathes, and how he responds to medications.
Trusting someone else to watch your asthmatic child can seem almost impossible. You will have so many questions and concerns that it just seems easier at times to never allow anyone else to ever babysit. We both know this is impractical. What is possible is being able to teach a potential babysitter (or maybe you are a babysitter yourself and watch an asthmatic child and have questions) what to look out for and what steps to take if the child's asthma starts acting up.
Asthmatic kids are tricky. If they are very young, they won't be able to tell you when they are having trouble breathing.
Here are some possible signs an asthmatic child might have when his or her asthma is acting up:
Coughing spells that worsen during play and/or at night
He or she may seem withdrawn
He or she may seem anxious
Skin around ribs sucking in with each breath
When interviewing a potential babysitter it is important to ask if they are familiar with asthma and caring for asthmatic children. You might be surprised and they know a lot about the disease whether personally or from a family member. Write everything down as far as your child's triggers, most common symptoms to watch out for etc. Place this in plain view in your house (such as on the refrigerator or bulletin board if you have one) for easy access. If you have a written asthma action plan make sure to go over it in detail and that the babysitter understands the steps to take if needed and when to call you as the parent &/or 911. Make sure the babysitter is currently CPR certified. Most babysitters hold a valid CPR card but it is very important to double check and verify. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Take time to go over all medications your child takes for his/her asthma (and allergies if your child has allergic asthma). Explain what each one is and does and when to give it. Also, write all off this down for reference.
Many asthmatic children also suffer from allergies. Take these allergies into consideration when interviewing a potential babysitter. For instance, if your child has a severe cat or dog allergy, that would be the first question I would ask over the phone before meeting in person. If a babysitter has a cat or dog at home any dander &/or hair could very well be brought to your house and depending on the severity of your child's allergy, could have very bad outcomes.
The same goes for any food allergies. You keep allergic foods out of your home but your babysitter might not think about it if she brings over a bag of trail mix that contains peanuts not realizing your child has a severe peanut allergy.
Keeping an open line of communication is key when interviewing a potential babysitter. Make yourself accessible for any questions they might have both before babysitting and if anything comes up while they are caring or your asthmatic child.
Does cold weather impact your asthma?