Safety tips when hosting an au pair

You have been in contact with your future au pair via skype, telephone, email etc. and signed the au pair contract for the upcoming stay? Time to think about a few safety points so that you can look forward to a happy and successful au pair stay.

Is everybody well prepared?

  • Talk with your au pair and find out if she (or he) has appropriate insurance coverage for the au pair stay.
  • If your au pair needs a visa for the au pair stay, check if all the necessary documents are available.
  • If your au pair will be driving during the au pair stay, clarify what level of driving skills and confidence the au pair has at her/his disposal. It is also important to clarify how things will be handled in the event of an accident and who will bear possible costs. Check if your existing car insurance will cover the au pair's use of the family car.
  • Get contact details from your au pair for the au pair's family and/or close friends. Clarify together with your au pair who should serve as a contact in the event of an emergency.
  • You can use this checklist to help get ready for your first au pair.

After your au pair has arrived: What should you have in mind?

  • It's good if you can have some time free in the days directly after your au pair has arrived to be at home and help as your au pair gets to know the new situation. With this early support, your au pair will quickly get a sense for what's required and be able to handle things on her (or his) own. This also gives you the opportunity to explain how you would like things to be managed in your home.  For example, before sending the new au pair out to pick up the kids from school, show the way yourself to be sure that everything will work well. And take some time to show other important basic elements of the tasks your au pair will need to take care of.
  • Give your au pair a list of all important phone numbers (mobile numbers of both parents, a backup person, and the emergency numbers for police and the fire brigade) and also show the au pair where the nearest hospital is.
  • Talk about what should be done in different kinds of emergencies.
  • Make sure that your au pair knows where basic first-aid supplies are in your home.
  • Give your au pair instructions about using the appliances in your home, especially about the correct handling of a gas cooker/oven if you have one.
  • If your child or children have allergies or some special illness, make sure your au pair has all the necessary information to deal with this situation properly. Also talk about how any medical emergencies should be handled.
  • If the au pair will be driving the car, make sure that she or he knows how to handle the children's seats in the vehicle.
  • Put yourself in the position of the new au pair. What should a young person know about your country, its culture and customs. Talk about possible difficulties and give the au pair tips about how to handle them best. Without causing unnecessary fears, explain to your au pair what might go wrong in dealing with everyday household activities, where particular care is required, and how problems and difficulties can be avoided.
  • Talking always helps. Speak regularly with your au pair and make it clear that you are always open to hear about your au pair's needs and concerns. When you have questions or feel the need to clarify something - speak openly and directly with your au pair. This helps you get to know your new family member better, to avoid all kinds of different problems, or to solve them quickly should they come up.
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