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Red Cross offers advice for babysitters following teen's death

Red Cross offers advice for babysitters following teen's death

By Peter Samore | Posted - Oct. 26, 2011 at 10:50 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Parents often screen potential teenage babysitters. Now, babysitters may want to screen potential employers following the death of North Ogden teen Alexis Rasmussen.

Natalena Schvaneveldt, training specialist for the Utah Red Cross, says the teenagers' parents must be involved in the vetting process, too.

Tips for screening a potential babysitting client
  • Work for people you know. The best place to start looking is within the community you know: your church, local schools, your workplace.
  • Gather and check references. It's OK for a babysitter to ask for references, too. Talk to the client's neighbors or someone who has also babysitted for them.
  • Set guidelines before you begin. Let the clients know what you expect and what your limits are, such as a curfew or arrangements for getting to and from the job.
  • Trust your instincts. If something seems questionable or makes you feel uncomfortable, don't take the job.

"If the parents are having a weird, gut feeling about a babysitting job, maybe they could do a little bit more investigation," she said.

That could include a basic background check.

Schvaneveldt says babysitters and their parents must establish guidelines and curfews with the other family before taking a job. Babysitters shouldn't be afraid to call home if the hours are growing late.

"It's up to the parents and the teenager to make those guidelines, and to know what kind of times to be back to do homework and exactly how much babysitting they can do," she said.

Schvaneveldt says most babysitting jobs are safe, especially if they're within the extended family.

Rasmussen's clients, Eric and Dea Millerberg, have been named "persons of interest" in the 16-year-old's death and are jailed on unrelated charges.

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Story written by Peter Samore with contributions from Lindsay Maxfield.

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