It is unimaginable for parents to have their children fall victim to a babysitter (Baby poisoning case: Accused had been prescribed the drugs, Feb 21).
The case, as reported in the article, highlighted a breach of trust. More importantly, the safety of the children was compromised.
Since the case is ongoing, it is imperative that we suspend our judgment and place trust in the judicial process. But the incident reveals the dubious nature of the babysitting industry.
Parents usually engage a babysitter by word of mouth or through website recommendations. These sources generally lack first-hand information on the babysitter.
Furthermore, parents have little acquaintance with the babysitter they are engaging. They can come to any judgment only after successive assignments. This puts parents in a disadvantaged position.
One solution is to introduce an accreditation body to help ensure a pool of qualified caregivers.
But what are the implications? Would it boost the trustworthiness of babysitters or maintain affordability in the long run?
Alternatively, we should look to our community for a solution.
For instance, neighbours who remain active after retirement can be roped in as babysitters.
Parents will have the advantage of knowing them beforehand, which would enable a healthy working relationship.
With trust at the heart of a close-knit community, unlike in transactional relationships, such an approach can be duplicated across many day-to-day situations.
More consistent effort is needed to study and design effective measures to enhance community development. Resolving communal issues through community involvement can promote social cohesion among people.
Colin Tan Heng Yeow