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How well do you know your Nanny or Babysitter?

  • June 28, 2006
  • by PInow Staff

Babysitter and nanny checks can help you find the right caregiver for your child.

If you are hiring a nanny, au pair, babysitter, tutor, or child caregiver of any kind, you need to check carefully. The news is full of stories of children who have been abused, hurt, and even killed through the recklessness or instability of the adult who was entrusted to care for them. Sadly, behind each of these headlines is a real-life tragedy. You do not want this to happen to you, so if you rely on anyone to care for your child - whether for weeks or just a few hours, you should consider running a thorough nanny check or babysitter check.

Experts recommend that at the very least you check:

  • References. This means more than glancing at the names a caregiver has printed on their resume. Call each reference and ask very specific questions: How long have you known this person? How did you find this caregiver? Can you give some specific examples of what the caregiver did right? Can you give an example of something you were unpleased with? How long did this person care for your child or children? Would you hire this person again? Why do you no longer hire this person (if this is the case)? Remember: caregivers can ask friends and acquaintances to act as references and some people will give positive references simply because they do not know someone well. Make sure that you are dealing with someone who knows the applicant well enough to judge and can provide you with specific reasons to hire this person.

  • Driving records. Having a private investigator run a nanny background check or babysitter public records search may seem extreme, but it is actually a surprisingly affordable way to make sure your trust is not badly misplaced. Making sure that your babysitter or nanny does not have DUI convictions, reckless driving incidents, or a string of accidents is crucial if your child's caregiver will be driving your children anywhere.

  • Credit Checks. A big part of many babysitter checks and nanny checks includes credit checks. This is simply because credit is a good measure of overall responsibility. If someone is responsible for their financial responsibilities, they are more likely to be mature and responsible with their jobs.

  • Criminal Records. Almost all babysitter and nanny checks include criminal records checks. If your caregiver has a history of sexual assault or a criminal record, you will certainly want to know that before you hire them.

  • Experience. Again, when you call references, confirm how long your potential nanny or au pair has worked in the field. While experience is not everything, it is more likely to create a caregiver who can cope with most situations, which is crucial if you will be entrusting that person with your children.

  • Skills. Find out what specific skills (and related experience) a babysitter or nanny has. If they have acted as a tutor or have worked with special needs children, for example, these skills may translate to a higher level of care for your children.

  • Child Reaction. A crucial nanny check and babysitter check that many parents overlook is the child reaction. Does your child actually like their nanny or babysitter? If not, there could be something going on that you do not know about. Be especially careful about checking the reactions of children who are too young to talk. While it is normal for children to not want you to leave them with a stranger, any child who is not comfortable with their caregiver is not going to be on their best behavior. For both your child's sake and the good of the caregiver, find a new babysitter or nanny.

  • Education. While the education requirements for au pairs and nannies do not have to be great, someone who has an emergency course, babysitting course, or child care course from a reputable source will at least be able to deal with common problems and emergencies something that can keep your children safe and can offer you some peace of mind.

It may be unfair to expect the perfect child caregiver, nanny, or babysitter, but you owe it to your family to find the best person to take care of your children while you are away. That means running a careful nanny or babysitter check or leaving that check to professional investigators so that you can make an informed hiring decision.

This is not something you should ever cut corners on. If you do not have the time to check out applicants for yourself, look to the Investigator Directory to find a local, qualified investigator who can run a nanny investigation or babysitter investigation for you. It could be the most important choice you make.

NOTE: When hiring a company to do any type of pre-employment screen you should make sure that they are a licensed Consumer Reporting Agency and provide their services in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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