It's every mom's worst nightmare. She leaves her child in the care of a babysitter and something happens. Something bad. Whether it's a bump on the head or something much worse, no parent wants to be notified that something happened to their kid on the sitter's watch. Especially if it's something that can't be undone. And especially if it could have easily been avoided.
A 3-year-old girl drowned in a pool recently while a babysitter was supposed to be looking after her. I say "supposed to be" because while the child was playing in the pool, the babysitter was checking Facebook on her phone a few feet away.
Kariasa Thomas, 37, was left in charge of looking after her best friend's four children. The youngest child, Kanyce, didn't know how to swim, but Kariasa let her use the pool anyway. Kariasa reportedly told the girl, who wasn't wearing any flotation devices, to stand on the steps of the pool while her siblings swam. During this time, Thomas proceeded to look at Facebook and play with her pet pit bull for 15 minutes while the kids were in the pool unsupervised. She's been arrested and charged with reckless injury to a child.
If these accusations are true, this is a case in which, well, this woman is a careless moron who should have never been watching a child. But it begs an interesting question for parents who use childcare: Do you have to tell your babysitter to not use their phone?
I, personally, think that being on your smartphone while you're being paid to watch a child is totally unacceptable. If the kid is taking a nap and the sitter wants to peruse Facebook or check their email, fine. But when kids are up and require supervision, absolutely not. Not only is it totally irresponsible, this person is being paid for their services. Lawyers don't sit at their desks, checking Instagram. Waitresses don't send out emails when they're taking people's orders. Getting lost in your phone should be done on your time. Not when you're collecting money from someone else. And especially not when you're watching kids.
It's sad, but I kind of feel like parents really need to reiterate this to people who are going to be watching their children. Stories like this, sadly, are a reminder that a simple message of "Please, no phone while taking care of my child" is in order when leaving our kids with sitters -- even if they're sitters we know and love. It seems obvious, but you never know. Although, not sure it would have made a difference in the case of Kariasa Thomas. Anyone who leaves children who can't swim unattended in a pool needs a lot more than a reminder message.
Thoughts and prayers to Kanyce's family.
Do you remind your sitter to not check their phone?
Image via Don Cornelius/Flickr