Flickr photo by BatraxGood babysitters are like gold, and we parents are known for having a list of must-have qualities a mile long.
When you're scouting for a good sitter, you can spout off the list at random to friends who might have a lead. Which is exactly what my friend V. did last week.
"I need someone responsible, stable, with a driver's license," she said.
A driver's license?
She was talking about a teen sitter for the summer, someone to cart her toddler to and fro to the summer activities that suddenly dominate the schedule when your kid is old enough to, well, toddle.
Confession: I'm terrified of my toddler getting in a car with just anyone -- especially a teenager.
My baby brother was technically still a teen when she was born, but save for him with his strict requirements that he drive extra-slow with her in the car (and she has him so wrapped that he listened to her every instruction), she's never been in the car with a teen driver. And if I can help it, she never will.
I'm not alone -- in a forum over at DadLabs, parents' feelings on the driving sitter ranged from "why not" to "I won't even let them operate the microwave."
But I'm also not afraid to ask potential sitters for their driver's license number and to check up with the DMV to find out if their driving record is clean.
The rules on that vary from state to state -- there's a handy tool on DMV.org that links out to the process for all 50 states.
Do you let the sitter drive your kids around?
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside