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It's all fun and games until someone gets sick

You babysit the sweetest kids on the block. With the best gig around, you can’t complain. You and the tikes always have a great time when you’re sitting. That is, until someone gets sick. But don’t fret, we’ve got tips on taking care of a suddenly sick child. 


Before the parents head out…


> Ask where first aid and cleaning supplies are
> Know where they keep the medicine
> Get phone numbers of the parents and emergency contacts  


What to do when…  


Little Susie’s been complaining about a tummy ache for a while. The poor girl keeps whining and you don’t know how to make her feel better.


There’s good news: You’re not totally clueless. What makes you feel better will probably help her too.   


Get her to lay down so she’s most comfortable and soothe her with a warm drink or a warm water bottle on her tummy. Try to distract her by talking, telling jokes, putting on a movie or telling her a story.


If it’s still bothering her after a while, maybe a nice tummy rub will do the trick. And if that doesn’t help? Ask her to point to where it hurts (her upper or lower abdomen) and don’t be afraid to call your parents or hers for advice.


Energetic Bobby seems a bit off. Instead of being his smiley, playful self, he’s just been laying on the couch dozing off and watching cartoons. You take his temperature. 102 degrees—he’s burning up!


His body’s working overtime trying to fight off illness, so make sure he rests. Grab his blankie or stuffed animal and turn on his fave movie to get him comfy.   


Give him a sippy cup of water or juice and make sure he’s getting enough fluids. The last thing you want is for him to get dehydrated, too. Call his parents to let ‘em know and ask if you should give him some Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen to bring the fever down a bit.  


Is it just you or is Susie looking a l’il blue? Actually, no, she’s looking a little…green. And before you can grab a trashcan, she’s done it. Barf!  


First of all, stay calm. Chances are, she’s just as upset as you and if you freak out, she’ll just cry more. Clean her up and seat her near a toilet. Better safe than sorry, right? 


It’s super important she gets plenty of fluids, so set her up with a cup of water and make sure she’s drinking it regularly. Then, clean up the mess with paper towels and cleaner. (If it’s on the carpet, make sure you’re not just rubbing it in.) Put the paper towels in a plastic trash bag, tie it up tight and put it in the trash. 


Put any soiled clothes, rugs or bedding in the washing machine and either leave them for her parents, or if you’re comfortable using the washer, wash them with plenty of detergent water.   


Don’t forget to disinfect all surfaces, not to mention wash your hands. Still smelling the aftermath? See if you can get your hands on some air freshener to take care of that stinky sitch. But most important, make sure to get in touch with Susie’s parents and let them know she’s sick.


BY KRISTEN YEUNG ON 12/16/2010 12:32:00 PM


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