Here's a disconcerting story for any parent who's ever used a babysitter: A couple who left their 13-month-old daughter with a babysitter returned to find the 23-year-old woman who was supposed to be watching their kid, "slumped against the kitchen counter with her hands on her head", according to a police report. AKA, she was drunk off her ass. Thankfully, the baby was fine, but the alleged "fall-down drunk" babysitter has been charged with misdemeanor endangering the health of a child -- as she should be.
I swear to god, man, it seems like every day we hear a new story about a childcare situation gone wrong. Makes you never want to let your kids out of your sight. But since that's just not possible for many people -- here are 5 reputable sources for finding a babysitter or nanny.
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Sittercity.com. Sitter City is a nationwide service that's been around for 10 years, and has a partnership with the Red Cross. It gives detailed profiles of potential candidates; offers background checks, references, and reviews; and has a "4-step screening process" that (hopefully) ensures you and your children wind up with the right choice. (It's good to go with a service that can provide background checks, as doing them on your own can be both time-consuming and expensive.)
Care.com. This is actually the service I used to find my daughter's nanny, and I couldn't be happier with the result. The set-up is basically the same way as Sitter City (you have to pay for all these types of services, btw). After posting an "ad", detailing exactly what I was looking for, I got about 80-someodd applicants, and I weeded out from there. A few specifics I mentioned: Non-smoker; someone who's okay with dogs; someone CPR-certified; and at least three good references.
Babysitters4hire.com. Same kind of deal as the above two. Babysitters4hire has been around a while, is national, and -- if you're into this sort of thing -- is even endorsed by Dr. Phil himself. There is an online investigation service located on the site for you to do a background check on candidates -- you should definitely use this.
eNannySource.com. Another national company that's been around for over 17 years. eNanny has background checks on all members, and they also have what's called a "Safe Nanny Hiring Kit," which is a handy step-by-step hiring guide that helps you keeps track of what screening you've done on each nanny (who you've called, if you've done a background check, etc.).
Seekingsitters.com. Seeking Sitters has been featured in numerous, credible media outlets, such as ABC, NBC, and CNN. They background check all potential sitters, and offer what they refer to as "Certified Sitters."
A note: I'm a big believer in "going with your gut." When I met my daughter's nanny, I knew she was the one. Like I said, I found her on a reputable childcare site -- and I had spoke with three families she worked for in the recent past -- but when we started talking, I knew I would feel comfortable letting her care for my child. Honestly? She's pretty much one of two people I'd ever leave my child with. So, if you meet someone, and all their references check out, etc., but you just don't feel like it's a good fit, keep looking. After all, nothing's more precious than your baby.
Do you have a babysitter? How did you find her/him?
Image via janineomg/Flickr