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A 6-Step Guide to Hiring a Safe Nanny

Written by | Updated March 7, 2016

Hiring a Safe Nanny

There are a lot of things to think about when hiring a nanny, and safety is, undoubtedly, at the top of your list. To help make the hiring process less overwhelming, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide to hiring a caregiver you can trust.

Step 1. Outline your needs.

Establishing what you’re looking for in a nanny can make it much easier to find a trustworthy one who blends in well with your family. Take some time to decide upon your nanny’s duties, anticipated schedule, and salary. Jot down personality traits that you’d prefer, but try to keep an open mind.

A few things to consider:

  • Do they have a car they can use to transport your child?
  • Do they have a clean driving record?
  • Are they CPR certified?
  • Do they have experience working with or being around children?

Step 2. Find nanny candidates.

Get recommendations from people you trust, including friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Consider using social media to help find quality candidates, or search nanny profiles on sites like Care.com, SitterCity.com, or UrbanSitter.com. If you don’t mind paying a fee, you can also work with a nanny placement company.

Step 3. Interview prospects.

Be warm and welcoming, but also be prepared with a list of questions that will help you learn more about your nanny candidate — especially when it comes to safety. At minimum, ask the following questions:

  • Have you taken classes in child care?
  • Are you certified in CPR/first aid?
  • How do you discipline a child?
  • How do you deal with tough situations like a baby crying nonstop or a child disobeying you?
  • Are you willing to complete a pre-employment background check?

Use the interviewees’ responses to help pare down your selection.

Step 4. Ask for, and check, references.

When it comes to finding a safe nanny, one of the biggest mistakes parents make is not asking for references. Ask your candidates for three references from past employers — not friends — and follow through on contacting them. Former employers can give you insight into the nanny’s trustworthiness, strengths, and weaknesses, so this step should help you narrow your candidate list down to just one or two options.

Step 5. Conduct a trial run.

A good nanny won’t hesitate to meet and spend time with your child as part of the interview process. Set up a short trial period of around one week to make sure the situation is a comfortable fit for all parties. It’s a good idea to remain present for the first day or two, as watching the child-nanny interaction can help you decide if you’re comfortable with the arrangement. If that goes smoothly, allow the nanny more autonomy for the remaining time in the trial period. At the end of the week, check in with the nanny — and your child, if they’re old enough — to see how things went.

Step 6. Hire your nanny.

If all goes well with the trial run, make the nanny a more permanent offer of employment. However, if you have any hesitation at the end of the run, trust your instincts and turn the nanny down. It may seem hard to move on to other candidates after investing so much effort, but you’ll be much happier down the line if you hire a nanny you’re confident in.

For a bit of extra confidence and peace of mind, you may also consider something like a nanny cam. There are several great options on the market, and keep in mind that general home security cameras can double as your nanny cam too.

Follow these steps to find a safe, well-suited nanny for your family, but keep in mind that the process may take a while. Be patient, though — the ideal nanny is out there.

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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