Once again a so-called nanny has made the news by being arrested for child abuse that was caught on a nanny cam. Many people in the nanny industry think that these nannies make professional nannies look bad. I disagree. There is a difference between a babysitter and a professional nanny. Nannies are educated and experienced professionals who are dedicated to the care of children.
The parents in the October nanny cam incident that I refer to hired a babysitter through a temporary employment service. They did not hire a professional nanny from a reputable nanny placement agency. Reputable nanny placement agencies have experience evaluating prospective nannies. A good nanny agency always completes a background check on each nanny candidate. Job seekers who want to hide a checkered past avoid nanny agencies. Agencies that are members of the International Nanny Association, abide by the recommended practices set by this organization. To reduce the need to use nanny cams, parents should utilize a good nanny agency to help them hire an experienced professional nanny.
I have talked to many professional nannies regarding their feelings about nanny cams. Their answers were basically the same. They agree that professional nannies who have nothing to hide don’t fear nanny cams. They agreed that if an employer does not feel comfortable leaving their children with the nanny, they are not the right nanny for this family. Professional nannies want parents to know their children are in good hands. Professional nannies want their employers to trust and feel comfortable with them. Parents must trust their intuition and stay alert to their child’s reaction toward their nanny. Nanny cams do not keep children safe. They only inform parents after the child has been treated badly.
After hiring a new nanny, parents should show up at home at unscheduled times to observe the nanny/child interactions. If the parents install a nanny cam, they need to inform the nanny during the interview process that there will be a camera in the home. It would be embarrassing for a nanny to remove her shirt after being spit up on only to learn that she had been taped on a hidden camera. Professional nannies that don’t mind having a camera installed still want to know that it is there so they will avoid embarrassing situations.
There is a difference between professional nannies and babysitters. A reputable nanny referral agency is a family’s best advocate for locating qualified applicants. I urge parents to use the money they would spend on a nanny cam to utilize a reputable nanny referral agency. The saying “You get what you pay for” holds true when it comes to finding high quality childcare. The children’s safety and well-being are worth every penny.
By M. Michelle McNabb, 2003 INA Nanny of the Year
and an Annie’s Nannies Nanny