No secret agent–style mission is more important than ensuring your child is well cared for when you leave him or her with your babysitter. While in a perfect world you would love to trust your child’s caregiver, it’s understandable you may want verification that your child’s babysitter is truly providing safe and excellent care.
First, it is important to consider and know the legal ramifications for recording your babysitter. Most states have privacy laws that say every person—babysitters included—have the right to privacy in areas where they can reasonably expect privacy. This means no nanny cams in a restroom or bedroom if your babysitter is spending the night. Also, some states forbid cameras in private homes unless the person knows they are being recorded. Also, audio recordings in most states are a no-no. If you are going to be recording your babysitter, and imagine a possibility you could use what you find in court, ensure the recording is video only.
Some parents like to cover their bases by informing a babysitter he or she could possibly be recorded. They may even ask the sitter to sign a paper stating the sitter was informed cameras could be in use. Sometimes informing a sitter of this alone is enough to ensure they are acting on the up and up with your child.
Nanny Cams. One of the most popular ways to spy on your babysitter is the use of “nanny cams.” These small devices can be planted in your home, such as on a lamp, at the television, in a digital clock, or even in a teddy bear, where you can watch your child’s babysitter. Some such systems have live feeds you can access from your office. To truly be effective, they will have to be placed in most rooms your sitter may go, including a living room, kitchen, dining room or baby’s bedroom to get the biggest picture.
In larger cities, security companies or designated babysitting consultants may come in and install these cameras for you. If you live in a smaller area, however, you may need to order such cameras online or at your local electronics store.
GPS Tracking Devices. GPS tracking devices can be purchased or rented to see if your nanny is going to the playground or to lunch with your child where he or she says it is. The GPS can be placed on a diaper bag or even somewhere in your child’s clothing to ensure security.
Stopping In. Sometimes popping in unannounced and unexpectedly can tell you all you need to know about how responsible your babysitter is. These occasional visits can keep your sitter on his or her toes while providing peace of (inexpensive) mind to you.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- Familiarize yourself with your state’s privacy laws before purchasing nanny surveillance equipment. You should never place cameras in private areas, such as the bathroom.
- Options for spying on your nanny include surveillance cameras and GPS trackers.
- Some parents have nannies sign a legal document acknowledging they may be recorded.