Tag Archives: background check

Nanny Driving Conventions

When you hire a nanny, there’s a good chance she’ll be driving your child at some point – to school, to playdates, to doctor appointments.  You’ll want to ensure she is a safe and qualified driver and definitely establish driving expectations with her upfront.

Driver’s license – There are nannies out there who know how to drive but who are not licensed, possibly due to concerns about eligibility (for non-citizens) or because of a lapse in renewal.  NannyTrack always recommends our clients obtain a copy of their nanny’s driver’s license to keep on file. Also, if your nanny has her own car and will be transporting your child, make sure you know the make and model of her vehicle, as well as her license plate details.

Driving history – Has your nanny been involved in traffic accidents? Been fined for speeding violations? Been charged with a DUI? Start by asking her – then fact-check this by ordering a copy of her driving record. Availability and coverage varies by state, but these records typically cover at least the last three years’ of a person’s driving history. Also included is information about when her license is set to expire. Note that motor vehicle-related civil lawsuits typically do not appear in driving history records, so NannyTrack recommends our more comprehensive litigation search for the sake of diligence.

Insurance – If your nanny is driving your car, your automobile insurance will likely cover her actions, but it’s always best to double-check with your policy provider. If your nanny is driving your child in her car, it’s prudent to ask her if her inspection and registration is up-to-date and if she, too, is insured. And, you’ll want her to back up the assertions with documentation. 

Child safety seats – Make sure your nanny knows how to correctly restrain your child in his car seat. And if you are buying additional child seats for her car, make sure they are correctly installed.

State the obvious – Having a sit-down with your nanny about driving safety protocol is a must, even if what you’re saying seems obvious. Let her know it is unacceptable to leave the child in the car unattended ever, even to return a shopping cart, or to “run in” for a quick errand. Ask her to leave her purse and other personal belongings in the backseat so no child is forgotten in the car. Remind her never to talk on the phone, text or read directions while driving. Finally, make sure your nanny understands she must contact you before taking your child on any previously unscheduled trip in the car—even a short one.

Summer is here!

It’s that time of year again . . . the schools are closed and playgrounds, swimming pools, and parks overflow with excited kids of all ages soaking up the sun. But even though the summer vibe is laid back, preparations for your children’s safety should never be. Here at NannyTrack we’ve put together a checklist of safety precautions to consider as we dive into the season:

  1. Driver Safety:  Who is going to be driving your children around this summer? Whether it’s a friend, a babysitter, or a full-time caregiver, you’ll want to see a copy of that person’s driver’s license to make sure it is valid and up-to-date. Don’t be afraid to ask directly “Have you ever been involved in an accident?” and, if the answer is “yes,” to follow up. Many States allow third-parties to search Department of Motor Vehicle records; NannyTrack reports always include such searches where available.
  1. First Aid: Is your caregiver certified in infant/child CPR and/or first aid? Summer is the season of boo-boos, and while most kids won’t need more than a Band-Aid and a kiss to make it all better, it’s reassuring to know your primary caregiver can provide the basics of emergency care if something does goes wrong. The American Red Cross offers classes nationwide.  If your caregiver is already certified, you’ll want to confirm the certification; NannyTrack always pursues verification of all licenses and certifications claimed by the subjects of our reports.
  1. Camp: If your child is attending any type of camp this summer she’ll be coming into contact with a lot of new people, from counselors, to support staff, to bus drivers and beyond. Make sure you understand your camp’s background check policy, including both what and who is searched. States have differing requirements about who can legally be employed to work with children (and which types of organizations are required to have all staff pass mandatory background checks), and you’ll want to make sure your camp is compliant. If your child will be taking a bus to camp, it’s likely the camp contracts with a separate, private company, so make sure you find out the contractor’s background check policy, too.

Here at NannyTrack, we understand sometimes it’s easier to just hope for the best—but a few phone calls might be all it takes to give you the peace of mind that your children are in the best possible hands.  And the sooner that happens, the sooner you can sit back and enjoy your frosty beverage! Happy summer!

When to start thinking about childcare

You’re pregnant! When do you need to start thinking about childcare?

So much of our planning surrounds trying to get pregnant, sustain a healthy pregnancy, and bring baby home that expectant parents sometimes don’t know when to start planning for childcare. Returning to work after having your first (or second, or third…) baby is a sensitive time in parents’ lives. Some of us have the luxury of several months’ leave from our career responsibilities, while many of us have to take far less time. Follow this timeline to achieve quality childcare:

Pregnancy, Months 0-6: Decide on institutional or individual childcare.

Some parents have strong feelings about whether a nanny or daycare program is the best fit for your family. Research and discuss your options before the baby is born, while considering finances and work flexibility.  (Stay tuned for next week’s NannyTracks post which discusses the differences between in-home and outside childcare.)

If you’re choosing institutional childcare, start researching and reserving a spot as soon as you know your return-to-work date, and check with them about phasing your child in part-time for a few weeks before that so all of you can settle into a routine.

If you’re looking to hire a nanny, put out feelers around your second trimester with mention of your ideal start date.

Pregnancy, Months 7-9: Look for recommendations from friends and neighbors.

Whichever type of childcare you opt for, talk to people you know about people they know. Ask friends and neighbors if they know of any nannies who are looking for new work (especially useful if you’re working part-time as many parents enter into “nanny share” agreements with other families). Remember, the best nannies don’t need to advertise their availability—they have new jobs lined up when their old ones expire. And a family who no longer has a need for their beloved nanny always wants, and typically helps, to find them a new family. Regardless of how strong a recommendation is, you should always be conducting additional reference calls for a full-spectrum representation of any nanny candidate.

If daycare is your chosen route, do your due diligence here, too. If you’re cold-calling daycare centers, hang around the parking lot or stroll by at pick-up time and ask parents about their feelings about the program. You can ask for references, too, though clearly these are cherry-picked families who would likely have only positive comments about the facility and staff.

Baby, Months 0-3: Don’t wait too long to commit.

Do the daycare centers in your area involve a lengthy registration process or have waiting lists? Does your dream nanny know that her current job is wrapping up in 2 months? Starting early, while it may seem an overwhelming endeavor while caring for your newborn, will ensure a more seamless back-to-work transition. If you’re interviewing daycares or individuals to hire, you’ll want to start setting up these meetings at least 6 weeks prior to work, so commitments can be made at least a few weeks before you go back to your other job. Conducting necessary and thorough background checks, like the NannyTrack Report, will also take time. Having childcare in place early enough allows for a getting-to-know-you period which provides both you and your baby with a sense of security and comfort.