Check the sitter’s background
Before you hire a person to come into your home and look after your children, you should conduct a background check, says Efrat Cohen, a licensed private investigator in Florida, New Jersey, and New York. “When we do a background check on a babysitter we look for any criminal records, sexual assault incidents, any robbery, or kidnapping charges. We also look for any driving records in case the babysitter will have to drive the kids around,” Cohen says. “All these factors are so important to know before trusting someone with your kids and letting them in your home.” (Here are 20 things your babysitter secretly thinks about you.)
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“Do your homework on the prospective sitter,” recommends Kasey Edwards, co-founder and CEO of Helpr, an on-demand babysitting app that will get you a screened sitter (CPR certification included) to your door in as few as three hours. “Call references and ask thorough and open-ended questions, look for time gaps in resumes, and ask for different types of references like a roommate.”
Use online resources, but proceed with caution
There’s another growing option for babysitting leads, online resources. According to a recent article in the Denver Post, Web-based services like Care.com, UrbanSitter.com, and SitterCity.com connect families with local sitters, with many offering user reviews and easy-to-access background checks. “No matter what method you choose, though, parents say finding the right person comes down to doing your own research. That includes doing in-person interviews, checking references, and running basic background checks,” says the article. Katie Bugbee, global parenting expert at Care.com, told the Denver Post. “To sit at that dinner table with an extra level of comfort and relaxation in the person you hired, it’s worth the due diligence.”