Information and advice about babysitting

How to find a Red Cross babysitter

Contact the Red Cross in your canton. They will be able to advise you how to find a trained babysitter in your region, such as a list of babysitters or other places to look. The advice may vary from canton to canton. Try also asking your local commune and check the small ads at your local shopping centre.

There are a few basic rules to follow when it comes to babysitting

A babysitter is someone who looks after children occasionally, in principle at the parents' home and in their absence. Babysitters are not a substitute to an outside childminding service. Babysitters are employed and paid directly by the family whose children they are looking after. There is a contract between the babysitter and the family.

  • The babysitter is at least 13 years old.
  • The children being looked after must be at least 3 months old. 
  • The babysitter should not have to look after sick children and no more than 3 children at a time.
  • If the children are awake, the babysitting service should not exceed 3 hours.
  • If the babysitter stays after 10 pm, they must be given the opportunity to sleep over.
  • You pay the babysitter at the rate previously agreed.
  • You leave your contact numbers in case of any problems

How much should I pay a babysitter

In general it is very difficult to set a single rate. Recommended rates can change from one region to another. What is important is that the parents and the babysitters agree on a rate that suits both parties.

The rate depends on various criteria and should take account of the following:

  • the babysitter's age
  • their experience and training
  • responsibilities and what is expected of them
  • how many children are to be looked after and their age
  • the time and length of the assignment (daytime, evening, night?)
  • is the babysitter alone with the children or is an adult present?

The SRC recommends the following hourly rates:

  • 13–15 years: CHF 8–10 per hour
  • 16–25 years CHF 11–18 per hour

These rates are for looking after two children. For each additional child, a supplement of CHF 2 should be added.

If the babysitter stays overnight, a lump sum fee should be agreed, but at least CHF 50. Or you might wish to add a lump sum of at least CHF 25 to the usual hourly rate.

If there are regular assignments, you may wish to agree a lump sum per assignment. In that case, it's important to define how long the assignment will last.

If a babysitter works for a family over a long period of time, it's reasonable to adjust the rate once a year.

The babysitter's travel expenses must be covered by the parents.

Please contact your Red Cross cantonal association for an appropriate local tariff.

The right insurance coverage

It is important for both the parents and babysitters to check that they have valid civil liability insurance and accident insurance and to find out about social security.

Civil liability insurance

In theory, the babysitters or their parents are responsible for taking out civil liability insurance.

Accident insurance

In theory, it's the babysitter who must take out accident insurance. Since 1 January 2015 parents who employ a babysitter for short assignments no longer need to take out accident insurance. However, it is worthwhile consulting an insurance advisor about the exact consequences of this change.

The following rules apply:

  • Accident insurance not mandatory: babysitters between 18 and 25 who earn no more than CHF 750 per family per year.
  • Accident insurance mandatory: babysitters from 25 years old.

Social security

Since 1 January 2015 families no longer need to pay social security (OASI/DI/IC) for short assignments, but they still need to do so for regular paid work. 

The following rules apply:

  • No social security contributions: babysitters between 13 and 18.
  • No social security contributions: babysitters between 18 and 25 who earn no more than CHF 750 per family per year.
  • Social security contributions: babysitters over 18 years old who earn more than CHF 750 per family per year.

Meeting the babysitter for the first time

It is best to meet your babysitter before the first babysitting assignment. This will enable both you and the babysitter to ask questions easily and the children will have a chance to meet the person who will be looking after them.

  • A frank discussion will show whether the parents and children have the same expectations.
  • Having the children meet their babysitter will let you see if the contact is good.
  • The rules for cooperation can be discussed (Importance of punctuality, what happens in the event of a last-minute cancellation, what to do about television, internet, etc. during the babysitting assignments, photos, opportunity to sleep over, what transport is available.
  • Issues such as rates and insurance can also be discussed and agreed.

And don't forget: allow yourself to be guided by your instinct!

What to do before leaving home

  • Explain to your children that the babysitter will be coming to look after them.
  • Make sure the babysitter arrives early enough so that you have time to say goodbye to your children properly. Never leave without saying goodbye to your children, even if you are afraid they might start crying.
  • The first time you leave them, don't go too far from home so that you can come back quickly if needed.
  • Explain your children's routine to the babysitter and show them where everything is (bottle, nappies, pyjamas, etc.).
  • Explain the routines associated with meals, snacks, naps, etc.
  • Show them where to find the first aid kit.
  • Show them where to find the fuse box.
  • Leave them a key to the house.
  • Tell them what time you will be home and make sure you're back on time.
  • Make sure the babysitter feels fully informed and ask if they have any questions.
  • Leave a telephone number where you can be reached and the number of a contact person in the event of an emergency.

What to do on returning home

  • Ask the babysitter if everything went well with the children.
  • Depending on their response, discuss how the situation could be handled the next time.
  • You pay the babysitter at the price already agreed, including travel costs.
  • You make sure the babysitter can get home safely, or if necessary offer to let them stay overnight.
  • You fill in the Red Cross babysitting passport.

I am ill or going through a difficult patch – who will look after my child?

In general, babysitters are not the right solution when you need someone to take care of your child in an emergency, during the day. In cases like that, you can call on the Red Cross childminding service. Website

The SRC childminding service is for the following situations: 

  • When you are ill
  • When you are in a difficult situation, such as if a family member has died
  • Exceptionally, your daycare or grandparents are not able to help out
  • Your child is ill but you still need to go out to work