Although there is no law stating a minimum age for a babysitter, University of Michigan recommends never hiring a sitter who is under 12 years of age. Young sitters may not have attended the Red Cross babysitter class, which teaches babysitters what to do in an emergency.
There is no state or federal law that sets a minimum age requirement for babysitting. There is also no law that states when a child is old enough to stay home alone or home with a sitter when the parent is away. However, University of Michigan cautions that children under 12 years of age should be supervised, and hiring a sitter who has taken the American Red Cross babysitter class is beneficial.
A guardian should always check a babysitter's references and meet with the sitter in advance. It may also be beneficial to have the babysitter meet the child ahead of time to make the child more comfortable. The American Red Cross babysitter course is offered in two formats. The first is an online course that teaches very basic babysitting information, whereas the classroom course teaches babysitters more advanced information such as performing rescue breathing and administering first aid. Completion of either course with a grade of 80 percent or higher earns the babysitter a printable diploma, which guardians can ask to see when interviewing potential sitters.