If you're babysitting and a severe accident or other emergency happens, you'll want a handy list of numbers that you can easily access and call immediately. If a child goes unconscious or starts choking, an extra minute of delay could be the difference between a full recovery and a problem that will stay with them for the rest of their life.
In this article, I'll provide lists of the main phone numbers that you'll want to know in case of a babysitting emergency. Since these numbers vary by country, I'll break them down into a separate section that you can use depending on where you live.
Click your country to jump to that section: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, or New Zealand.
U.S. Emergency Numbers
National Emergency Number: 911
Call this number for any type of emergency, medical, fire, a car crash when someone is injured, or if there is a crime in progress. The operator can dispatch a fire truck, police officer, or paramedics right away as needed.
Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222
This is a national toll-free number. It will automatically route you to the appropriate poison center for your region.
In the United States, non-emergency numbers are typically local. In some areas, you can use the number 311 for non-emergency or city services. In other areas, there is no national number to connect you to the correct department. So you will need to Google "(your city name) non-emergency police number" to find the appropriate number for your situation.
In some states, calling #77, *77, or *47 will allow you to reach the highway patrol from a mobile phone.
Download our Emergency Contact Sheet for the U.S.
Download our printable contact list of U.S. emergency numbers and keep a copy in your babysitting binder so you have it with you whenever you're on the job.
We have other printable babysitting documents too, check them out!
Canadian Emergency Numbers
National Emergency Number: 911
Call this number if you need an ambulance, fire truck, or the police right away. Let the 911 operator know the nature of your emergency so they can send the right help.
In Canada, poison control is handled at a provincial level. There is no single national number to connect you to the right department. Find your province on this list and call the number provided:
Alberta & Northwest Territories
Toll-free (within Alberta and Northwest Territories only): 1-800-332-1414
Telephone (in Calgary, VOIP users, or outside of Alberta): 403-944-1414
Toll-free (within BC only): 1-800-567-8911
Telephone (Greater Vancouver): 604-682-5050
Toll-free: 1-855-776-4766 (1-855-7POISON)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Toll-free (for Nova Scotia and PEI only): 1-800-565-8161
Telephone (Halifax or outside Nova Scotia): 902-470-8161
Toll-free (within Ontario): 1-800-268-9017
Telephone (Greater Toronto Area): 416-813-5900
Prince Edward Island
Toll-free (for Nova Scotia and PEI only): 1-800-565-8161
Toll-free (for Quebec only): 1-800-463-5060
Toll-free (for Saskatchewan only): 1-866-454-1212
Telephone: (at Whitehorse Community Hospital) 867-393-8700
Non-emergency police and fire numbers will vary from city to city; each police department will have their own local number. There is no centralized number to redirect you, so you will need to Google to find the number for your city.
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
This is a special number that kids in Canada can call at any time for free, confidential help with whatever they are facing. Their volunteers provide counseling to kids who feel stuck with no one else to turn to, or if they just need to be redirected to the correct service.
Download our Emergency Contact Sheet for Canada
Download our printable contact list of Canadian emergency numbers and keep a copy in your babysitting binder so you have it with you whenever you're on the job.
We have many more printable babysitting documents, download them too!
United Kingdom Emergency Numbers
National Emergency number: 999
999 is the U.K. equivalent of 911 in North America. You can call this number to get immediate medical assistance or report a fire or serious crime.
The U.K. doesn't have a poison control number. If the child you're babysitting has ingested something and doesn't appear to be very sick, you can call NHS on 111 for advice. 111 gives help for an urgent medical problem when you aren't sure what to do, but that you don't think warrants calling an ambulance.
However, if they're showing signs of losing consciousness, seizures, vomiting, or otherwise very ill, you should call 999 to request an ambulance instead.
You can call 101 to report crimes that you don't consider an emergency. You can also use 101 to give information to the police or make an inquiry. Alternatively, you can search online by postcode for your local neighborhood policing team and contact them that way.
Download our Emergency Contact Sheet for the U.K.
Download our printable contact list of U.K. emergency numbers and keep a copy in your babysitting binder so you always have it with you while you're on the job.
We have other printable babysitting documents too!
Australian Emergency Numbers
National Emergency number: 000 ("Triple Zero")
Call 000 in an emergency when someone needs help right away because of an injury or immediate danger. The operator will send help in the form of an ambulance, fire truck, or police officer.
Poison Control: 131 126
You can call this number if you think someone has been poisoned, made an error with medicine, or taken an overdose. It's available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day from anywhere in Australia.
Non-Emergency Police: 131 444
You can call this number if you need police assistance when there's no immediate danger or to report a non-urgent crime.
Download our Emergency Contact Sheet for Australia
Download our printable contact list of Australian emergency numbers and keep a copy in your babysitting binder so you always have it with you while you're on the job.
Download our other printable babysitting documents too!
New Zealand Emergency Numbers
National Emergency number: 111
You can call this number if there's a threat to property or life, like a fire, medical emergency, or serious car accident.
Poison Control: 0800 POISON (0800 764 766)
Call this number in case of poisoning, or if you need to get information about poisons.
Non-Emergency Number: 105
You can call 105 for police non-emergencies. Use 105 to report things like someone has broken into your car and might have taken something, you suspect a drug deal is going on, or someone has vandalized the house you're babysitting in.
Download our Emergency Contact Sheet for New Zealand
Download our printable contact list of New Zealand emergency numbers and keep a copy in your babysitting binder so you always have it with you while you're on the job.
Download our other printable babysitting documents too!
What Are The Main Emergency Numbers That You Should Know?
Regardless of where you live in the world, there will be a handful of important phone numbers that are very important to know in case of an emergency.
911, 999, 111, 000, or Your Regional Equivalent
Every country has its own short, easy to remember phone number that is reserved for emergencies.
You can use this number if you need to get an ambulance, police officer, or fire truck to the house that you're babysitting right away.
You might call the national emergency number or your local equivalent if a child you're babysitting stops breathing and goes unconscious, if a fire in the kitchen gets out of control, or if you think that someone is trying to break into the house.
Don't call your national emergency number if you don't think it's an emergency. For example, it's not worth calling if a kid you're babysitting gets a minor cut or you think they're getting the flu. Nor should you call if the electricity goes out, if there's a dog barking outside, or anything that doesn't immediately threaten the safety of you or the kids that you're watching.
Especially don't try to call your national emergency number as a prank. They treat inappropriate phone calls very seriously. Emergency call centers have a limited number of operators. So if you're on the line, you might be preventing someone from getting through who has a real emergency. Even if you hang up, they can usually trace your call to find out where you called from, and you can get into a lot of trouble.
Potentially avoid some emergency situations by reading my article Be a Safe Babysitter! (Essential Safety Tips You Should Know) to prevent them!
What if a Child Calls the National Emergency Number Accidentally?
Sometimes kids may pick up the phone and start pressing numbers, and they could call your national emergency number accidentally.
If this happens, don't just panic and hang up. You should stay on the line and tell the operator what happened. Otherwise, they won't know if you're okay. If you call your national emergency number and hang up, they might call you back to see if everything is alright. Or they may even send a police officer to your house to make sure nothing serious is going on. So you'll be in less trouble and cause fewer problems for the emergency teams if you just stay on the line and explain what happened.
This is the number that you'll want to call if a child you're babysitting has eaten something they shouldn't have, like household cleaners or other chemicals. In many cases, you'll still want to call even if you suspect that they've eaten something but you aren't 100% sure.
When you call, have the container ready. That way, you can tell them what the product is and what ingredients it contains.
A poison control specialist will want some basic information like the age, weight, and gender of the child. They will need to know as much as you can tell them about what was swallowed, and how much of it you think they got down. The person who answers the phone will typically be someone with training as a pharmacist, doctor, or nurse, who has a good understanding of toxic chemicals and how they can affect people.
Once they have all of the information, the person on the phone will give you instructions on how to handle the situation. Listen carefully, and ask for clarification if they say anything that you couldn't understand. Try to write their instructions down, if you can, because sometimes it is hard to remember everything they said once you get off the phone. Write down the name of the person you spoke to, as well.
Their advice may be simply to monitor the child to see how their condition develops. They may ask you to do some basic first aid yourself at home. Or they may tell you to get to a hospital or call for an ambulance right away, depending on how serious the situation is. If going to the hospital, remember to bring the bottle, package, or anything that has information on it about the substance the kid took.
You should note: Poison control isn't able to provide information about animal poisonings since they're only specifically trained in dealing with people. If you think that a family pet has eaten something toxic while you're babysitting, the best number to call is the veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic.
The police and fire departments in your area will likely have a non-emergency number that you can use. This is for situations when you don't need immediate assistance but still want to report something.
You might call the police non-emergency line to make a complaint about noise from a party next door. Or to report a crime where there's no suspect, or there is a delay since the crime happened, like if your license plate or bike was stolen.
You can use the non-emergency fire number to report something like a cat that is stuck up in a tree. Or if your neighbor is having a bonfire and the smoke is coming in your windows, but it doesn't pose an immediate threat or danger.
Other Important Phone Numbers To Have Ready
Some of the most important phone numbers that you should keep in your records aren't numbers that I can provide for you, unfortunately. They won't just vary from city to city, but even from one family that you babysit for to the next.
Here are some local numbers that some parents will also want you to have.
Get the number for the closest pharmacy to where you are. In case you either need to pick up prescription medicine for kids that you're babysitting, or if you need to go get medicine unexpectedly in a hurry.
In the U.S., it is recommended to use the pharmacy that the parents use, so the kids' insurance cards will be on file. So you want to get that number from the parents, even if it is not the closest.
Get the number for the family dentist where the kids you're babysitting go for cleanings and checkups. You might also want their after-hours number to call for any dental emergencies if it's available.
You will want the phone number and location for the nearest hospital. But more importantly, you'll need to know which hospital is nearest in case of an accident, so you know which emergency room to go to.
Get the phone number for the family doctor of kids that you babysit for. You will also likely need parents to sign a release form for you to speak with the doctor about the kids that you babysit.
If you're going to be taking kids to the doctor for parents while you're babysitting, you'll also need their health insurance plan and policy number.
Have at least one cell phone number of the parents that you're babysitting for. Ideally, get the numbers for both parents. You might also need their work numbers if you'll be babysitting for them during the day, and they possibly have their cell phones turned off while they're in the office.
Also, get them to write out their full address for you, including the nearest major cross streets and postal code. If you need to call an emergency number, they'll ask what your address is that you need help sent to. If you babysit for a lot of families, it can be hard to keep track. So have it written down right near the emergency numbers.
Stay safe while babysitting! Read my article Babysitting Safety (Keep the Kids & You Away from Danger!) so you know what to look for.
Have at least one or two emergency contacts for the family that you can reach out to if you're unable to contact the parents you're babysitting for when you need them. They might be other family members, close friends, or neighbors.
It may come in handy to have the name and phone number of the older children’s school(s), as well as what class they are in and their teachers’ names. This information might be important if you take care of them before or after school—if they are sick or don’t come home as expected.
Gas, Electric, and Water Companies
In case a pipe bursts or you're able to smell natural gas, you'll need the number of the appropriate utility company to call. Get parents also to leave their account number for each company, if they're comfortable providing you with it. It may allow companies to look up the address more easily in case of an emergency.
Normally if a toilet, bathtub, or sink starts to malfunction badly enough that you need a plumber, you'd just call parents for help and ask them what to do. But if you're babysitting for an extended number of days while parents are away on vacation, it can be handy to have someone to call.
You might want some other similar numbers as well. Like a locksmith that you can call if you accidentally get locked out of the house.
If the family dog or cat suddenly falls ill, you'll want to be able to call and get advice based on their symptoms.
If there's a wild animal outside that's making you fear for your safety or for the kids that you're babysitting, then you'll want to call your local animal control department to come and take care of it.
Depending on where you live, this might range from unknown dogs roaming around, to poisonous snakes, or even cougars or bears.
It's critical to know what the emergency numbers are when you're babysitting. In an emergency situation, even just a couple of minutes can completely change the outcome. Having numbers ready to call in case of an accident or other emergency will minimize the time it takes to contact the appropriate experts.
Emergency numbers can vary by country, state, or province, or even from city to city. So it's important to have the specific numbers that you need for where you live. After looking through this article, you should know what number to call in case of an emergency or suspected poisoning whether you live in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, or New Zealand.
If you want to be extra prepared, read through a few of my other safety-related articles as well!
Learn when to turn down a suspicious job: read my article How to Stay Safe When Babysitting (Essential Tips You Should Know).
Are you prepared for a fire emergency? Read my article Fire Safety Tips For Babysitters (Emergency Measures & Prevention) to learn how to escape in case of a fire.
Keep kids safe at the pool: read my article Babysitting at the Pool (What to Bring, Games to Play & Water Safety Tips).
Are you working over the internet? Check out my article How to Stay Safe Online as a Babysitter (11 Rules to Follow) to learn how to safely take contact with parents from online to an offline interview.
Become a better babysitter!
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