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I live in a relatively rural area which limits certain options for me. Where I live has no professional sitter services at all, you just have to find someone you personally trust. I have recently started to interview some candidates for "as needed" babysitting (just the occasional evening/weekend). I am not finding anyone I am completely happy with as so far none seem to have taken any actual health/safety training.

I am trying to sort if it's reasonable to ask someone to take first aid and CPR training. I am willing to pay for the training I want them to have, but I can admit I am a little concerned that I will pay and they would end up not finishing it/showing up and/or perhaps not babysit for me enough after to warrant the fees. If however it worked out and they were able to fill in here and there for a few years, I find it an absolutely worthwhile investment.

Is this a weird thing for me to offer? Might I scare someone off or can I suggest it without it being too odd? Should I expect to also pay them for their time to attend the class if I offer this? I really don't know what is typical as I haven't had to look for anyone before as I had people I knew who also were well qualified (like one was a registered nurse, so she obviously had plenty of training).


I am sorry if this seems obvious to others, but I have some anxiety about how to ask and if this is overstepping. I had a couple of candidates I rather liked other than their lack of knowledge in that specific area. I took that training prior to ever watching children, so I personally find it a necessary step and I have actually used my training while caring for kids.

My location is such that the soonest help would come if you called for it is 20 mins and that would be EMT/fire station arriving. If you need a hospital, the drive after that is at minimum an hour.

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    Just a quick question because you asked if you where to pay the time they spent at training: how long do the trainings last? The one I had to take when I made my drivers license is a 7-hour-course, which I would possibly be willing to invest without additional compensation. – Layna Jul 20 '17 at 7:40
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    I actually just looked it back up, it's not as bad as I was thinking. It's a 6hr course, another 6hrs & a 2hr testing. So it's almost half the time I was thinking. – threetimes Jul 20 '17 at 9:03
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    If they are certified via a Red Cross baby-sitting course, then they will at least have the First Aid (not sure about CPR). If you only have them sit for you a couple of times, it might seem to be a bit much. How old are the kids? If you insist on the full-blown certifications, then they should expect to see a much higher hourly rate to match their professional qualifications, as well. It's only fair, and might provide incentive for them to go ahead. – PoloHoleSet Jul 20 '17 at 16:42
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    Aside from the cost of the course itself, a smart sitter would probably ask for some compensation for their own loss of time. Even 14 hours at a modest "minimum wage" like $10 an hour isn't a trivial amount of money. And don't forget that if they are just doing this to "tick a box", a week after the course they will know no more about CPR than they do now - except they may feel more confident in their ignorance and start actively doing the wrong things, rather than getting help! – alephzero Jul 21 '17 at 8:20
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    If I work as an Accountant, and my company pays for me to get my CPA and my MBA, in addition to paying for my training, my salary goes way up, as well. That's because I am now much more qualified with a much greater skillset than I had before, and people with a much greater skillset and qualifications demand a higher salary on the market. If you were given the choice between two people who you did not pay to train - one with that certification and one without, you'd pay more for the person with certification. Also, they put the time and effort into getting the training, which is many hours. – PoloHoleSet Jul 21 '17 at 13:23
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If it is of that much concern to you then the simple answer is:

  • Yes - you should have it as a requirement of the job, either that they already hold a CPR training certificate, or that they will be willing to sit it.

But remember, most parents get no training in CPR and manage just fine, so your expectations of a babysitter may need to be tempered a little. If you are paying for it, then that should be some encouragement for the babysitter. I don't think you are in a position to insist they stay working for you, though, so of course you run the risk of it being a sunk cost that then doesn't provide you any value.

Despite raising 3 kids (1 of whom plays sports that are very likely to lead to injuries and often comes back with broken bones) I only did CPR training (beyond very basic school first aid) in my 40's - and only then as one of my kids had a friend with short Q-T syndrome, which meant he was susceptible to heart attacks. Never needed to use that training, thankfully, but it's nice to know I can respond appropriately to a child in cardiac arrest.

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    I think location matters though,. Many parents who "manage" no training have a hospital a short ride from home. The more rural the location, the more you really have to self rely to be able to do some basics until you can get more help. That said, I have had a child I was watching choke until passing out and I had another take a trip face first into a cement planter that needed stitches & do think my training was extremely important in those cases. I haven't used it often, but I have used it. I was made to take it at 13 by my mom and my kids will take it when old enough. – threetimes Jul 20 '17 at 7:34
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    I agree with you that it is overwhelmingly a good thing - I was just trying to give a balanced perspective as to why some may not see it that way. – Rory Alsop Jul 20 '17 at 7:36
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    Let's be brutally honest: CPR is only useful if the patient's heart has stopped beating, with a view to keeping their blood oxygenated until someone can make a more meaningful intervention. Even a strong fit healthy person trained in first aid will struggle to continue chest compressions at the requisite depth on their own for 20 minutes, so if you really anticipate cardiac arrest and want to spend your money on something that will mitigate that risk you'd be far better off buying an AED for your house. That said, sudden cardiac arrest in an otherwise healthy child is very rare... – eggyal Jul 20 '17 at 20:44
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    @eggyal - The babysitter's CPR course is geared towards more than CPR, like first aid and choking. – anongoodnurse Jul 20 '17 at 20:47
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    @eggyal: An AED can't hurt. However, it is a) much more expensive than first-aid training, and b) you need first-aid training to meaningfully use an AED, because you are supposed to administer CPR before and after using the AED. So AED only makes sense in addition to first-aid training, not instead. But this is getting off-topic... see you on health.SE :-). – sleske Jul 21 '17 at 8:39
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I am trying to sort if it's reasonable to ask someone to take first aid & CPR training.

Of course this will vary depending on local customs, but from a German perspective:

Yes, this is totally OK.

In Germany, it is common to need a first aid certificate in various cases:

  • for your driver's licence
  • as a certified coach (Übungsleiter or Trainer) in a sports club
  • as a teacher
  • as a childcare worker / kindergarten teacher

So it would not be unusual to ask this of a babysitter - particularly not if you explain that professional help will take unusually long to arrive if something happens.

Note that there are special first aid courses for children and newborns - depending on the age of your children and local availability, you might ask for such a course.

You could ask like this:

I am happy you get along well with my child, and I would like to have you as a babysitter. However, if there should ever be an accident or emergency, professional help will take a while to arrive. So would you be willing to take a first aid course, to be prepared and to allay my fears? You can take a course at place X, or somewhere else at your convenience. I will pay the course fee.


To address your detail questions:

I am willing to pay for the training I want them to have, but I can admit I am a little concerned that I will pay and they would end up not finishing it/showing up and/or perhaps not babysit for me enough after to warrant the fees.

Yes, that is a risk. However, you will need to trust your babysitter anyway, so I'd just go with my gut feeling. At any rate, the risk is not that great - the courses should not be too expensive (possibly even free). In Germany the cost is 35 Euro, which is about two to three hours of a typical baby sitter salary.

Should I expect to also pay them for their time to attend the class if I offer this?

That, I think, is up to you (and your negotiating skill :-) ). Since the first aid training will be valuable in other situations, too, I would personally not pay the time. The deal would be that you pay the fee, the prospective baby sitter invests their time, and they get to keep the knowledge from the training :-).

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    +1 for trust anyway – Chris H Jul 20 '17 at 13:06
  • You need a first aid certification to get a driver's license? Ach du meine liebe Güte. – MissMonicaE Jul 20 '17 at 17:51
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    @MissMonicaE: Yes, you do. I personally like the idea - if you are allowed to move about a ton of metal at speeds of 100 km/h or more, you should know what to do if something goes wrong. And the required course is only one day long. – sleske Jul 20 '17 at 20:45
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    @MissMonicaE In Switzerland too (and I'm sure it costs at least twice as much as the 35€ mentioned for Germany). I guess it saves a life now and again, but I think if you assume 1/4 of drivers actually still remember the stuff, that's generous. – Nobody Jul 20 '17 at 21:19
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am not finding anyone I am completely happy with

First of all, you will never be happy with any sitter. The parent usually has some ideas on how to raise the kid and the biggest problem here is that the sitter is not you.

I am trying to sort if it's reasonable to ask someone to take first aid & CPR training

In theory, you have the right to ask anything as long as candidates have the right to refuse. But in your situation, it's different. You have already said that your options are very limited. If you ask them to go through additional hoops and loops, they're more likely to refuse and with options already so thin to begin with, you'll risk being left without any sitter you can trust.

I suggest you hire the person you trust most and then talk about CPR and try to motivate him/her to taking the class. If they comply, good, if they don't - don't think about it again. Your trust in your sitter is more important than his/her CPR skills.

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Make a contract

There is your answer. If you are completely insistent on them taking a safety training course targeted towards childcare workers, make a contract with a potential candidate you like.

You can make it as formal or informal as you like but state in the contract that you will require them to complete and certify in a CPR/Safety training course and that the cost of the course will be covered by you contingent upon completion of the requirement.

Simple enough, if they complete it, they don't pay; if they don't complete it, they do pay. I don't know the legality of all this but depending upon the cost of the course, an unbiased witness and a signature will usually hold up in most civil courts if it comes to them not paying for the course in the chance they don't certify.

People are usually more motivated when their signature is on something that feels legally binding.

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  • While this is certainly possible, it feels needlessly complicated and formal to me. If you don't trust the sitter enough to complete the course without a contract, would you want them to look after your child? – sleske Jul 20 '17 at 12:18
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    @sleske, I would trust them more if they said they were going to do it and actually did it. Trust is earned, not assumed. – SomeShinyObject Jul 20 '17 at 12:23
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    Two things concerning the idea of a contract: (1) having a contract isn't actually very useful unless you're prepared to enforce it (ie: sue if they don't hold up their end.) That's extra time and money you'd need to be willing to spend. (2) assuming the sitter is a minor themselves, there may be additional limitation on what they can legally be held accountable for in contracts and/or you may need their legal guardian to sign instead. All this will greatly complicate the process of actually getting a sitter and will likely lead some otherwise suitable applicants to walk away. – Steve-O Jul 20 '17 at 19:47

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