Whether you're looking for a babysitter at work or for a few hours while enjoying a night out, there are a few things you need to know when choosing a babysitter.

Choosing a babysitter can be a little scary, but it's definitely doable. Start by asking friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers who they would recommend as a reliable reference point. You can also ask your local pediatrician or Red Cross to find a babysitter.

Once you have a list of potential babysitters, you should interview them. You need to understand their experiences and see how they interact with your children. If you have babies, you need to make sure they have enough experience with babies. First aid is always recommended for your babysitter.

After preliminary discussion, make a shortlist of the remaining potential babysitters. Then ask them to come over to your house and spend time with the kids. You should lean in a position where you can see and hear, but neither children nor caregivers can see you. This will give you an idea of how caregivers interact with children.

There are some basics a babysitter should know before being left to care for your children.

-You need to do a full home tour with the babysitter so they are familiar with your home and where things are located.

-Cover emergency fire exits, emergency plans, and first aid treatments with the sitter.

-Make sure the babysitter knows where to find first aid supplies and fire extinguishers, as well as candles and flashlights, in case the power goes out.

-If your child has special needs let the babysitter know. For example, does your child wet the bed, have nightmares, or have allergies. Are there foods your child cannot have? Talk to the babysitter about these issues and also leave a printed list.

-Let your sitter know the rules of the house relating to TV, bedtime, friends coming over, and snacks. Also, let the sitter know what you consider acceptable discipline and what is not allowed.

Your babysitter is an extension of you, so be sure to take time and choose a good one. If your children are safe and happy you can relax and do what you need to do. It's a win-win for everyone!