Are Nanny Cams Legal?

You can own and use a nanny cam in all 50 states, but the rules depend on how you use it and where you live.

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Katie McEntire
Staff Writer, Safety & Security
January 19, 2022

If you have a nanny or caretaker who watches your kids, maybe you’ve considered setting up a nanny cam.

Whether you’re looking for a specific activity or just want an extra eye on your family, there’s one important question to ask before setting up any hidden or indoor cameras in your home.

Is it legal to own a nanny cam? The short answer is yes. But it doesn’t stop there.

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While nanny cams are allowed in all 50 states, the legal details around audio and video recordings vary from state to state.

It’s important to know when nanny cams are considered illegal and how you can record happenings in your home legally without breaching the trust of your caregiver.

When are nanny cams illegal?

While you’re allowed to record video in your home everywhere in the US, things get complicated when you add audio into the mix.

Nanny cams are illegal when . . .

They violate a reasonable expectation of privacy

If you’re going to set up a nanny cam in your home, hidden or otherwise, don’t put it in areas where your nanny or anyone else has a reasonable expectation of privacy like bathrooms or bedrooms.

They violate recording consent laws

Every state except Vermont has laws on the books about recording audio.

If you’ve ever heard “this conversation may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” before a phone call, that disclaimer comes from these same laws.

If you live in any of these 11 states, you need consent from your nanny or anyone else to record audio in your home. This can be a sign, a line in your nanny’s contract, or a simple conversation.

One-party consent states

Katie McEntire, SafeWise.com

Two-party consent states

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

The other 38 states are considered one-party consent states, meaning only one person needs to give consent before recording audio. This can be you, as long as you’re one of the people being recorded.

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What about Vermont?

As of 2022, there are no laws on the books in Vermont on this topic. Because of this, it’s considered a one-party consent state like the majority of the country. 1

If you’re in a situation where your recordings need to stay secret, stick to recording video without sound and in a public area of your home.

These rules aren’t just about your relationship with your kids’ caretaker. If you don’t follow the laws in your area, any footage you record might not hold up in court, or worse, the person on camera could sue you.

Final word

To simplify things, just tell your nanny or caregiver if you’re recording audio and video at home. It sets the expectations from the beginning and makes the whole “you’re being watched” thing feel less shady.

After all, you’re trusting this person with the people you love, so be sure to show them a little trust from the start.

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