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Is Your Babysitter Really Taking Care of Your Baby?

There is nothing more traumatic for a child than to be looked after by someone who is violent and abusive.

When we hire a babysitter or a carer to look after our child or entrust someone to look after our children, we place our complete trust in them to take proper care of our little ones. But does it always happen that way? The question that haunts many parents is whether the carer is really giving the love, attention and care that the child requires.

In recent years, with the widespread use of internet, we hear a lot about child abuse. This includes children being abused by the very people who are entrusted to take care of them. There is one case from Dubai that instantly comes to mind that of the little girl Wudeema, who was tortured to death by her own father and his girlfriend. The very people who should have been caring for her became the cause of her death. When blood relations can become so insensitive, is it too difficult to imagine that a hired help could do it too? There have been countless stories of parents having discovered that their children were being abused by the babysitter, nanny or carer employed to take care of the children.

More Common Than We Would Like to Believe

Child abuse is a much more common problem than we would like to admit. Even in Dubai, there have been many reported cases. Whenever we leave our kids in the care of another person we are exposing them to violence and abuse. We really are not aware of the mental and emotional state of the person we are entrusting our child to. We just assume that since it is the person’s job to take care of the child, they will do so diligently. But, often, the caretaker is a person who does not do the job out of love for children, but out of necessity. This may make them frustrated or mentally unsuitable to take care of children. We have to admit, that even if we do love our children, we do get annoyed, frustrated and angry with them. We might scream at them or punish them. This happens in every parent’s life and we should not jump to conclusions when the child carer too loses patience and gives in to reprimanding the children. This is not abuse in any sense, but it turns to abuse, when it happens regularly with little or no provocation. When the child is physically injured or affected, it is then abuse.

No age is too little or too old for the abuse to happen. There have been instances when children just a few months old have been subject to violent behaviour. It can also happen to older children. So do not believe that your child may be too old or too young to be abused by the carer.

Kind of abuse

There are many ways a child can be abused by a carer. The abuse can be from mild psychological abuse to more serious sexual abuse.

  • If a carer is constantly neglecting a child and its needs, it is abuse. She may not be taking proper care of the child, feeding it on time or cleaning and bathing it as is required.

  • If a carer is constantly screaming and shouting at the child, it is verbal abuse.

  • If a carer is threatening a child, it is abuse. Threatening a child with dire consequences or in any other manner can be traumatizing for a child and is clearly a form of abuse.

  • If a carer is being physically violent, it most certainly is abuse. There is no reason for a baby sitter to raise their hands on a child or to physically harm them in any way.

  • If a carer is locking up the child in a room or a cupboard as a form of punishment, it is abuse.

  • If a carer is taking nude pictures of your child, it is sexual abuse. When you find out about this, you can call in the authorities as it can be construed as child pornography.

  • The worse form of abuse is when a carer sexually abuses a child by touching them inappropriately or through sexual contact of any kind. This too is a very serious matter and should be reported as soon as possible.

Signs of Abuse

No one knows what is really happening behind their backs. We all like to believe the best of everyone, until we are proven wrong. No one can tell immediately after hiring a babysitter whether they are abusive or not. It unfolds over a period of time if you are vigilant enough you can catch the early signs and intervene to protect your child.

The most common signs of abuse are:

  • The child is scared or afraid of the carer. All children are reluctant to leave their parents and accept someone else easily. It takes time before a child will accept someone. So if you see that your child is reluctant to be with the babysitter, give it a few days for the child to establish a relationship with the babysitter before pressing the alarm. If, you notice, that the child is still not comfortable with the babysitter after a few weeks, then you have a cause to reconsider employing the babysitter and looking for a new one. Another thing that may happen is that the child may form a strong bond with the carer initially and then start to avoid them or stay with them alone. If this happens, this is a certain sign that things are not all right. You should start investigating the cause of your child’s reluctance to be with the babysitter and then change the carer as soon as you can.

  • Child has become a bundle of nerves and seems withdrawn. If you child suddenly start staying alone, is nervous or withdrawn from you emotionally and physically, it is a cause for concern. The child may be subject to abuse and this needs to be stopped immediately. If a child is being abused, they will be on their guard all the time and be wary of everyone.

  • The Babysitter is reluctant to give a proper account of the time spent together. You should always enquire about what the child and the babysitter did during the time they were together. If the babysitter seems to be reluctant to give you an answer or sketchy about the details of the activities, you should beware. The babysitter has to be transparent about their activities and also in giving feedback about the child to the parents. A failure to do so may mean that she is trying to hide something.

  • The child seems to be neglected. If you find your child dirty and unbathed or cleaned properly, or losing weight even when you provide enough food for the day, you need to find out why from the babysitter. The babysitter may actually be failing to do her duties properly and feeding, bathing or dressing the child.

  • The child has cuts and bruises. Accidents do happen when children get hurt. But if your child suddenly seems to be living constantly with cuts and bruises, the reason may be anything but an accidental fall or a bump into the wall. The nanny or the babysitter may be abusing the child and hurting it physically.

  • Change in behavior of the child. If you observe a significant change in the behavior of the child over a short period of time, it may be due to abuse. If you find your child masturbating or taking undue interest in their private parts, this may be a sign of sexual abuse. You need to talk to the child and find out about it. Other signs of sexual abuse may include red or swollen private parts. Discharge for the vagina, scratches and other marks on the private parts. Sexual abuse is a serious crime and Dubai has strict laws regarding sexual abuse.

Monitoring For Abuse

If you suspect that your child is being abused by your babysitter, you can monitor the activities in the house with the help of a CCTV or Nanny Cam. You can record all that is happening in your absence to your child and then confront the babysitter.

If you suspect abuse, talk to your child in a non-threatening way about it and try to find out what is happening behind your back.

Go with your instincts. A mother’s instinct is seldom wrong. If you get the feeling that there is something wrong, then do investigate and find out what is going on.

Dealing with Abusive Babysitter

Babysitters in Dubai can be prosecuted for child abuse. The Childcare law that was passed in June 2016 stipulates that a person found to be abusing a child is liable to be prosecuted and jailed for up to 10 years and fined too. All responsible adults connected to the child are bound by law to report child abuse. So if you find that your child is being abused, you have to report it. You need to gather irrefutable proof of abuse. You can easily do that through electronic surveillance. Once you have the proof, approach the proper authorities and report the matter.

Hiring a Babysitter in Dubai

There are many agencies that offer babysitting services in Dubai. Most of these agencies are required to perform a background check on the people they employ. An agency is liable to neglect if they do not run a thorough background check on the persons they offer for services. They cannot recommend or hire a child abuser as a babysitter by law. So you are better off hiring a babysitter from a reputable and registered agency rather than on your own.

You can book online babysitter through the portal Most of the agencies offering their services on the portal are legitimate and registered agencies. To find out more about us do visit our website.

To read more useful posts such as this one, keep reading blog.

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