Why Your Babysitter Needs Medical Consent

Brynne Conroy

Girl at Doctor's office for a checkup

You think you’re ready for the babysitter. You’ve written down all of the allergies, noted that the kids aren’t currently on any meds and written out the pediatrician’s phone number on that white board on the fridge.

But what happens if the sitter actually needs to take your child to the doctor while you’re away? Can they do that legally? Load your child up in the car and make medical decisions in your absence? Do they know what they are and aren’t allowed to do should a medical emergency occur under their watch?

In these situations, it’s helpful to establish medical consent. Here’s why.

You want the babysitter to be able to seek medical care on behalf of your child.

The first thing you need to know is that if there is a true, immediately life-threatening emergency, doctors in the ER are not going to refuse care to your child. They will likely seek your consent via phone or other immediate contact method, but your babysitter isn’t likely to need medical consent or a medical power of attorney in order to take your child to the emergency room.

However, having this consent can only make things go more smoothly. And there are other situations where you may want your babysitter to be able to seek medical care for your child.

You’re away for an extended period of time.

Say you’re going away on a parents-only vacation for your 10-year anniversary after the world has reopened post-COVID. Or you’re going to be traveling for a couple of weeks because of work.

During this time, it’s conceivable that your child could get sick. You might not want to hop on the next plane home over a sore throat. But you would want your babysitter to have the ability to take your child in for a strep test, getting a prescription for antibiotics if necessary.

With medical consent, they can bring their paperwork with them to the doctor’s office. Of course, you will likely be permitted to Zoom into the appointment or hop on speakerphone. But this paperwork allows your babysitter to do the legwork in person while you’re away.

You might not be reachable.

There are some situations where you might not be reachable. Maybe you’re on a date night in an area where you get poor cell reception. Maybe you’re in a work environment where your phone must be silenced and you’re unwittingly missing calls.

Meanwhile, at home, your child has spiked a fever that hasn’t gone away with Tylenol. Your babysitter is starting to get really concerned and is stressed that she can’t reach you. She wants to take your child to the urgent care center before it closes, but she’s not sure if she’s allowed.

With medical consent, she wouldn’t have to stress over her decision. She would know she could head to the urgent care center. With her medical consent paperwork in hand, she would be able to easily seek care for your child without a potentially unnecessary trip to the ER.

This is a regular babysitter.

If this is your first time using a particular babysitter, you may not want to issue medical consent. You’re likely going to be glued to your phone the entire time you’re gone, anyways, and if a true emergency happens your child should still have access to the ER.

However, you’re probably not using a babysitter for the first time if you’re going somewhere you know is out of cell range. Or taking a multi-week trip.

For regularly babysitters, you will want to establish ongoing medical consent. You can do so using the Tomorrow app, with access to all the paperwork you’ll need including medical power of attorney.