Don't Let Your Nanny Drive Your Children!


A good babysitter has many things: patience, serenity, good hygiene. But does she also need a spotless driving record?

It seems parents are divided on the issue. There are some who would never even consider letting their babysitter get behind the wheel. Others go so far as buying the sitter a carseat for her car.

Both have their drawbacks.

The other day, my sitter took my children to a museum on the subway for the first time and I was a nervous wreck. Of course when she did it again, I felt better. We moms can be hopelessly paranoid, which is something we need to combat, not feed.

But no sitter has ever driven my children.

This is not because I have a policy in place. My current sitter has no interest, she would rather take the bus or subway. But I interviewed a sitter last summer who said it was her policy never to drive the children.

I kind of get that, too.

For some parents, it's just a safety thing, period. We all know children are far less safe in cars than anywhere else.

According to The New York Times:

The five things most likely to cause injury to children up to age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are: car accidents, homicide (usually at the hands of someone they know), child abuse, suicide, or drowning.

“Parents are just bad at risk assessment,” said Christie Barnes, a mother of four and the author of “The Paranoid Parents Guide.” “We are constantly overestimating rare dangers while underestimating common ones.”

We shouldn't be worried about kidnapping and the random thoughts that plague us and keep us up at night. We should be worrying about the little things: the 15-minute drive to ballet class, the 10-minute traffic-laden schlep home from pre-school.

It's a scary world and I know I'm a very bad driver. This little fact makes me seriously doubt the skills of any other driver. I live in the city, not in the suburbs, and I have access to a great public transportation system. Why does my sitter need the keys to my car?

But others aren't in the same position, and as one fellow mom pointed out: "If we trust her to care for our children, it seems natural that she would be a careful driver with our children as well."

Astute point.

The fact is, the world is a dangerous place and my kids are probably just as (if not more) likely to get into an accident with me behind the wheel as with her. If my sitter wanted to use our car with the seats properly installed and a tutorial on strapping the kids in, then I would probably say OK.

Do you let your nanny drive your children?



baby activities, post-birth outings, time for mom, work


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RanaA... RanaAurora

I don't have a nanny, but I would honestly prefer that people watching my kids DIDN'T drive them anywhere. Not only because of the car accident risk, but also because I don't trust people to use the car seats correctly 100% of the time, and not do something stupid like leaving my kids in the car "just for a second" or whatnot.

betha... bethany169

My sister is a nanny and drives the kids she watches all over Seattle--to each their own.  But one of the things I liked about having my son in a home daycare was that she lived about 5 minutes from us, I dropped him off in the morning, and he didn't leave her house (except for walks to the park) until we picked him up.  I know some people are critical of moms who choose to work, but for me, one of the big perks was that I could do my errands at lunch and so my son spent minimal time in the car--a child's chances of being hurt or killed in a car wreck are so much higher than being abducted, etc and I was really happy to minimize that risk. 

kelli... kelli0585

I'm not paranoid about it. 

You live in NYC, right?  A place where public transportation is readily available and people can live their entire lives without needing personal transportation. And there's heavy traffic.

It's a little bit different in most other places.  Restaurants, parks and playgrounds, libraries, etc are NOT walking distance or close proximity to each other.  As a matter of fact, where I currently live, most businesses and establishments are ALL in their own building, not connected.  Lots of space.  No subways, no taxis, poor or non existant bus system.  Needless to say, that traffic isn't as bad as NYC, either.

Here, MOST people who drive have been driving since they were 16, with a learners or hardship license at 15. I know for a fact that's not quite the norm for a teenager out of Brooklyn.  If that counts for anything, it counts for experience.  During South by Southwest in Austin, TX, I remember a friend of mine from NYC telling me that it felt "surreal" for me to be driving him around in my personal car:  "You must be like rich, or something!"

So no.  Here, I would not feel uncomfortable with my sitters (which in this case, are my parents and 23 year old brothers) driving my son around.

Sweet... SweetPieMama24

My nanny drives my son around and I don't have a problem - but she also has 2 kids so she's quite experienced driving kids around! I too have the convenience that our nanny lives 2 blocks away, so I drop him off in the AM and pick him back up when I'm done with work.

nonmember avatar Allboys

We don't have a nanny. When the hubbs and I go out on a date or an event we always leave the van for the sitter. Just in case. If there is an emergency and they all have to get to the hospital or they just want to go to the park yes I want them to drive my children. I would prefer it to them walking my three toddlers and one big kid no less than two miles in each direction on busy streets. With the amount of pedestrian fatalities and pedestrian involved collisions every year in our city it would make me a nervous wreck if they were walking.

Phils... PhilsBabyMama

I don't like anyone but my husband and myself driving our son around.  Most people don't use car seats correctly...that's what concerns me more than someone driving dangerously.

nonmember avatar lawyerjen

After my son was 1 year old and the nanny had been with us for a nearly a year, I bought her a car seat. It took that long for me to even consider it. She has driven me to doctors appointments and such, so I know what kind of driver she is (conservative). It doesn't worry me so much anymore. I'm more worried about my husband driving!

Happy... Happypancake

I gave our Sitter a car seat in case she needed to go somewhere or to pick up her kids from school or anything necessary. I'd rather her have one than not, just in case!

Nichole Cutulle

well, I AM a nanny, 35 yrs old, been a nanny for over 15 yrs.....I have kids in the car ALL the time with me...I have strict rules (hands to yourself, do not touch the radio (if they are age/height/weight requirement for front seat) and no loud voices. I have NEVER had an accident or incident with children in the car and I am always careful. When the tables are turned, I will be hesitant, but, in today's world, you have to go with the flow.

nonmember avatar Elaine

I totally understand the fear of letting another person drive your kids around especially when they are not related to you! I am a nanny myself and I bought myself a car seat because I dive so many differnt kids (at different times) around I got tired of putting the car seat in and out, plus it's safer if the car sea is installed once correctly rather than 4 or 5 times a week! I think parents should feel comfortable with the nanny or sitter before letting them drive their kids. Take a drive with them check their driving record. Both very important! I once sat for a family that I had never met (got refered by another family) and they had me drive their child up a windy highway late at night. I love the fact that the parents I nanny for allow me to drive their children. Sometimes in my car or in theirs. I get sick of staying home and enjoy taking them to parks, library's and such. I think if public transportation was easier it might be different but when both parents work it can be hard. Especially when it comes to picking up 3 kids from 3 different schools. But if kids can have a fatal accident in the car the same can be said with busses and light rail. There are so many other things to worry about that we would have no fun if we stayed in the house all day because of all the things in this world to be afraid of!

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