For nannies who care for siblings, the younger child being harmed by the older child is a real possibility. Older siblings can accidentally injure younger siblings when trying to help feed, carry or care for a brother or sister. Injuries often occur because of the older sibling’s underdeveloped and poor judgment. For example, an older sibling may place a blanket over a crying baby’s face in efforts to soothe the baby not realizing suffocation could occur. An older sibling could also give a younger sibling a small toy, which could lead to choking. Injuries can also happen when an older sibling plays too rough with a younger sibling and accidentally inflicts bodily harm. Prevent injuries caused by older siblings by not asking older siblings to care for younger ones, by sorting toys with small parts out of reach, and by teaching older siblings what is and is not safe for his younger sibling.
Since each family will have different thoughts on physical play among siblings, nannies should discuss what the family considers appropriate and inappropriate play. Nannies should work with families to understand their views on contact play, including wresting and roughhousing, and should communicate their comfort level regarding these activities to the parents in order to develop guidelines for when the children are in the nanny’s care.