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Babysitters and Consent to Treat

I don’t leave my kids with a babysitter all that often, but when I do I want to make sure that all the bases are covered while I’m gone. I always write out a long list of instructions fort our sitter (she’s probably tired of reading it but thankfully she humors me every time) and I’ll always have a talk with my oldest child about what the night will entail.

What am I missing? No, I’m not going to go out and buy a nannycam. What I should do to make sure all my bases are covered is to write up a medical Consent to Treat form and give a copy to the babysitter. What this form does is it gives her the legal authority to take my kids to the hospital if necessary and to give permission to treat them if necessary.

I did some research on these forms and from what I gather it’s standard practice to always treat a child for life-threatening injuries regardless of whether the doctor receives parental permission or not, but other injuries become a bit of a gray area. Doctors are so apprehensive about potential lawsuits that they may actually refuse to treat a child for a broken bone or some other non-life-threatening injury until they receive permission from a parent or legal guardian.

Having a Consent to Treat form alleviates this problem. The form says something to the effect of “I give full permission for <babysitter’s name> to seek medical treatment for my child in my absence.” Then you list your contact information and your child’s medication list, allergies, and anything else that may be of importance to the doctor.

I would rather have my sitter take my kids directly to the hospital in case of an injury instead of first spending precious time trying to track me down. How about you?


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