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Top 5: Ways to Protect Your Family

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Mom and Dad police officers give us their expert tips on keeping kids safe when home with a sitter.

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It's scary enough leaving your kids home with a babysitter without worrying about someone breaking in. Learn how to keep your kids and sitter safe with these tips:

1. Plan ahead: "You want to provide a safe environment for the sitter to work in," said child safety expert and police officer Samantha Wilson. Wilson urges parents to make sure they have functional locks for doors and windows and have an audible alarm system installed. Instruct babysitters ahead of time not to open the door or answer the phone unless they know who it is.

2. Create an emergency list: Leave important numbers and information in a handy spot. These should include: Mom and Dad's cell phone numbers, the numbers to the local fire and police departments, the Poison Control Center as well as your address and phone number. A babysitter may have directions to your home but not necessarily know your exact address and landline, both necessary for 911, said Tony Newsom, police officer and author of Top 10 Crimes.

3. Establish protocol: If there is an immediate emergency, like someone breaking in your home, be sure to tell your sitter to call 911. The sitter should not call you or a friend. Establish a safe spot in your home ahead of time for the sitter to take your children in an emergency.

4. Have an escape plan: Tell your sitter that if someone does break into the house, it' s not time to panic. Get the kids to a safe spot outside the house and call 911, said Newsom.

5. Prepare them for the worst: In the event the sitter comes face-to-face with a burglar, tell her to cooperate as much as possible, said Newsom. At the first opportunity, get the children to a safe location and call 911.

Have you ever had to deal with a break-in? Tell us below.

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