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Summer Child Care Survival Tips

PHOTO: Summer is a carefree time of play for many children in Colorado, but not for parents who need to consider several factors when arranging backup child care or figuring out if a child is mature enough to stay home alone. Photo courtesy City of San Antonio, TX.
PHOTO: Summer is a carefree time of play for many children in Colorado, but not for parents who need to consider several factors when arranging backup child care or figuring out if a child is mature enough to stay home alone. Photo courtesy City of San Antonio, TX.
June 15, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – The busy summer vacation season has arrived and with nannies and babysitters among those who'll be taking some time off, parents should make plans now for lining up back-up child care.

Karen Fogolin, associate director of Child Care Aware, says there are some options through schools and park and recreation programs, while other parents may seek out a local teenager or college student.

She says when doing so, parents should have a checklist that includes first aid skills, CPR training and other important items.

"Certainly if they're hiring a teenager or a college student, 'Is that the only person that will be there?’” she says. “’Will they have their friends over?' They just need to know who's around their children, how they're being supervised, what activities are happening and to check in throughout the day."

Fogolin stresses with any type of care, the key is to be informed. She notes that Child Care Aware has information that can help parents in identifying guidelines for appropriate summer care.

Some parents may consider leaving their older children at home alone if care is not available. Fogolin says knowing when a child is ready to be alone can be tricky.

"It's really knowing how responsible is your child?” she points out. “Do they know when to call 911? Do they know basic first aid, not to answer the door to strangers, sort of those household safety rules? And the other thing too to think about is are they comfortable with it?"

Texas law does not require a specific age a child must be before he or she may be left home alone, but Fogolin says it's generally recommended that the children be age 12 or older.


Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX