Important babysitting reminders for parents

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We told you last week about the sexual assault charges 46-year-old Daniel Barber of Hudson is facing.

The St. Croix County Sheriff's Dept. says he used Facebook and Craigslist to connect with families in need of a babysitter.

This brings to light some important reminders about getting childcare from someone you do not know.

Steve Lange is not yet looking for childcare but knows it is right around the corner.

"We're lucky to have a lot of family in the area so that's a good source,' he said.

But knows a family member or relative might not always be around to watch his son Jake. That could mean needing to hire and outside person to help out.

Tina Tharp, Community Wellness Supervisor with Mayo Clinic Health System in Menomonie, says checking references, experience and training are good steps to take before hiring a babysitter.

She runs a babysitting class at the hospital throughout various times of the year.

"We talk about safety of the child, baby you are taking care of," Tharp said.

She recommends getting someone that has some type of training. But she still advises against hiring someone you do not know even if you are in a pinch.

"I think it's not a good idea to put notices up at grocery stores looking for a babysitter; I think you have to make those connections, posting on Facebook is another scary thing," she said.

She recommends you have some type of connection to the babysitter whether it is someone you know through a place like church or work.

Even then, you need to take steps to make sure the person is safe.

"Maybe have that person be a mom's helper for a while, mom stays at home, does some cleaning cooking and see how the children relate with that care provider and personalities mesh," she said.

Theresa Guzman Lopez usually does not hire a babysitter for her two kids but has another child on the way.

She says if she hires a babysitter she is willing to hire an outside person but will be very careful in doing so.

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