Babysitting Nightmares - A WGEM News in-depth report - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Babysitting Nightmares - A WGEM News in-depth report

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It's every parent's worst nightmare. Co come home after a night out and find your house a wreck and your child's life in danger.

FBI research shows babysitters are responsible for 4.2 percent of crimes against kids under 6-years-old, including neglect.

This begs the question: Do you really know who you're leaving your child with?

Shannon Nicholas experienced her own "babysitting nightmare." Nicholas says even now when she leaves her kids Sydney and Cole for the evening, not so fond memories of babysitters past come flooding back.

"We had a young babysitter come over, my son had a milkshake, and probably ingested too much too quickly, and then threw up so that kind of scared the babysitter and she called me in a panic," Nicholas said. 

Nicholas had to rush home from her day out, clean up the mess and was left wondering why the babysitter wasn't prepared for something so common in young children.

But that wasn't the end of Nicholas' nightmare.

"It was another young sitter when Cole was potty training, and he had taken a nap and wet himself, and just leaving the wet soiled stuff on the floor," Nicholas said. 

Nicholas' story is nothing compared to Griggsville parent Shannon Kirgan's story.

"I babysat for the babysitter," Kirgan said.

Kirgan vividly remembers going out one New Year's Eve, only to arrive home to find the babysitter had her own New Year's Eve party.

"There were extra kids laying everywhere, that weren't there when I left that weren't mine, the babysitter was asleep when I got home, my youngest boy was still awake standing at the window crying," Kirgan said.

To make matters worse, the night ended up costing Kirgan money.

"The babysitter spent the whole time on the computer playing around on the Internet printing off pictures of her boyfriend," Kirgan said. "She used up all the printer ink."

So, how can these babysitting nightmares be prevented?

Kirby Wiemelt, who teaches a babysitting class at the American Red Cross in Quincy, said parents should speak extensively to potential sitters.

"As a parent we teach them that they should do a pre-interview, the babysitter should go in and talk to those parents and see what they're expecting," Wiemelt said. "The parent should look at that also have them play with your kid for a while, make them come over while you're there, and make them babysit while you're still in the background looking."

Wiemelt says when looking for that perfect babysitter, it may not be your opinion that matters most. And to take your kids opinion into consideration.

"If your young kid starts shying away, kids pick up on things real quick, little kids especially," Wiemelt said. "They're going to shy away from them and as soon as they start to shy away, then that would be the one I'd be a lot more leery about."

Both Kirgan and Nicholas say Wiemelts advice is very sound.

"Definitely get to know them, make sure you know that person, make sure your kids take to them right away," Kirgan said.

"It's very important to trust the babysitter. If you don't trust the babysitter then you're constantly worried about what's going on at your house," Nicholas said.

Wiemelt also highly advises to not look for a babysitter online. He says it's just too risky and dangerous.

"That is not the best way because you don't know who you're inviting into your house either and they could even have somebody go up front and have a young girl or boy come in and you think that's who's babysitting, and then as soon as you leave, the pedophile actually comes in," Wiemelt said.

Wiemelt says the best place to find a babysitter is through your church or by asking around at your workplace.

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