Keeping safe during the au pair stay

For au pairs and for host families, the au pair stay is a real adventure. Common sense, open communication and taking one step at a time all have an important role to play in keeping everyone safe during the au pair experience.

CheckPractical tips for au pairs and host families about what's important to ensure a safe and satisfying experience during the au pair stay.

Au pair safety precautions
Host family safety precaution
  • Safety precautions for au pairs

    Going to live in a new country is a super learning experience. And you also need to learn new ways how to take care of yourself in new surroundings.

    Group of au pairs

    These are points that you should keep in mind:

    • Find a safe and secure way to manage your personal documents and money – during your travel to your au pair assignment and the whole time you are abroad. Never hand your passport over to another person. A copy of it will be sufficient for your host family.
    • Take some time to get to know your new situation. A foreign country can be different in ways that you don't expect. Be alert and ask your host family for their recommendations and tips about where you can safely spend time in your new town or city, how best to get around (public transport, walking, bicycling, etc.), what you need to know about manners and customs so that you fit in well and are always safe.
    • When you begin your trip, be sure to have the telephone number of your host family and your embassy so that you're prepared for any contingency. When you reach your destination, give important telephone numbers and email addresses (for your family or friends in your home country) to your host family so that they will know who to contact if there is an emergency.
    • Talk to your host parents frequently. Share any worries or uncertainties or questions you have so that you can work together to find a good solution. Talking sooner rather than later can avoid lots of problems and also helps to avoid unnecessary risks.
  • Safety precautions for host families

    Inviting an au pair into your family brings lots of benefits but it also requires readjustments for all concerned. Take time particularly at the beginning of the au pair stay to make sure that everyone is getting used to the new situation in a safe and positive way.

    Au pair and host family together

    Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Take some days off at the beginning and accompany your au pair through the daily routine he or she will soon be following alone. This gives you the chance to clearly communicate your wishes and help the au pair to understand how to handle different situations (e.g. the way to school, addresses for shopping or sports or music lessons, etc.)
    • Try to think about the situation in your home and in your country and culture from the perspective of a young person from a foreign country. Point out possible difficulties, give tips about local customs and practices. Without being alarmist, think about what could go wrong and help your au pair to avoid risks during his or her duties in your home and during leisure time.
    • Tell your au pair clearly what is important for you regarding your children. What are your rules for television and computer? What activities should the au pair promote and what should be avoided? Give clear guidelines and the au pair can be integrated into your family more effectively, happily and safely, too.
    • Prepare a weekly schedule and discuss it at a weekly “planning meeting”. It's a good way to avoid inconvenient surprises.
    • Give your au pair a list of any important telephone numbers that could be useful for everyday activities or for emergencies – mobile phone numbers for both parents or other important caregivers for the children, fire and police numbers, family doctor and emergency medical numbers. Talk about what should be done if an emergency occurs.
    • Talk regularly and extensively with your au pair. Make it clear that you are always ready to hear concerns and questions. Remember that young people sometimes need help communicating their concerns. Be ready to take the initiative.

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