Making the decision to hire a nanny or an in-home childcare provider isn’t as easy as it seems to be. A lot of parents struggle with the idea of leaving their children in someone else’s care! Not to mention, just the logistics of finding a nanny or babysitter are enough to make you want to pull your hair out. The cost of childcare is astronomical, and finding someone you trust AND afford to watch your kids can feel a lot like searching for a golden unicorn. But you search and search and search, you interview and weed out and trial run every nanny in a 50-mile radius, and against all odds, you find someone. Now what?!
One of the first things parents have to decide once they’ve hired a nanny or in-home childcare provider is whether or not to use a nanny cam. Now, we use cameras for all sorts of stuff now—home security, doorbells, baby monitors, you name it. So video surveillance of our child’s caretakers doesn’t seem that far-fetched! But it’s not necessarily something we all know a lot about, or feel confident in using. Before you bring someone into your home to watch your kiddos, here’s what you should know about nanny cams.
Pros of nanny cameras in your home
First and foremost, cameras in your home can help deliver the peace of mind parents so desperately want when they leave their kids in someone else’s care. Especially a new nanny or sitter who you aren’t super familiar with yet! Someone can look AMAZING on paper and do a complete 180 when they’re actually in your home watching your kids. So having cameras in your home allows you the opportunity to check in on your children’s well-being when you’re not there.
Nanny cams can also help parents feel connected to their kids when they’re at work or away from home. We all know parent guilt is VERY real, so being able to watch as your little one plays, learns and goes about their day can help you feel dialed into their day-to-day life, even when you can’t be there.
And of course, one of the biggest pros to having a nanny cam—they allow you to keep tabs on your child’s safety and well-being when you aren’t home. No parent ever wants to consider that someone they trust would hurt their child, but unfortunately, it does happen. Nanny cams provide security and accountability for parents AND caregivers.
Things to consider before using a nanny cam
Now, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of using a nanny cam—after all, the safety and well-being of your children is tantamount, as is your peace of mind! But if you do decide to go this route, there are some things to consider.
A hidden camera could potentially violate your nanny or sitter’s trust, and they may feel violated or hurt if they discover one that was not previously disclosed. Because of that, we recommend being upfront and honest with your caregivers and letting them know that there are cameras in the living spaces and the spaces your child occupies. There’s nothing wrong with a parent wanting to check in on their child and assure their safety (daycares and preschools allow parents access via livestream all the time!), so there’s no reason to be sneaky or keep it hidden. If you feel like you need to hide a camera to catch your nanny in the act, then perhaps it’s time to find a new nanny.
Another thing to keep in mind when using a nanny cam is that it captures a small window of time in one specific area of your home—you may not be getting the big picture. For example, maybe you see your nanny and toddler come into the room on the cam, your toddler crying inconsolably and your nanny trying to comfort them. But what the feed didn’t show was your toddler tripping over a bathroom rug and hitting their knee on the tub. Nanny cams can give you a lot of info! But they don’t always give you the full story.
Finally, there are some legal issues to consider. First and foremost, cameras cannot be installed in bathrooms or your nanny’s room (if they’re live-in). Additionally, every state has their own laws around what is restricted when it comes to surveillance. Some states don’t require you to inform parties that they’re being recorded, while other states do require full disclosure if you are recording audio and not just video. So before you rig up the cams, make sure you check your state’s laws around what is and what is not permissible.
Nanny cams can be a super useful tool for parents and caregivers, when used correctly. If you decide to use them in your home, just make sure you are open and forthright with your nanny or sitter. It’s so important that everyone is on the same page with one goal in mind: the safety, well-being, and happiness of those kiddos.