For some parents, just leaving the kids with a babysitter or nanny can be a nerve-wracking experience. When the babysitter is also responsible for chauffeuring the kids around town, it can be even more distressing. Here are several steps parents can take to ensure their children’s safety while they’re in the care – and cars – of others:
1. Ensure the caretaker has a valid driver’s license and a solid driving record. Be on the lookout for reckless driving citations; cell phone tickets, excessive speeding and driving while intoxicated. Furthermore, don’t discount even smaller traffic violations. No red flag is too small when the safety of your children is at stake.
2. Check the babysitter’s references. There’s a peace of mind that comes with knowing other parents in your community have relied on the babysitter to drive their children around.
3. Decide what car the babysitter will drive. It’s ideal to lend your own vehicle so you’ll be able to make sure that it is in good condition and has all of the features needed to keep your little ones safe. If that’s not an option, have a trusted mechanic check out the nanny’s car.
4. Install child safety seats. The car that your sitter will use should have appropriate child safety seats that are properly installed for each child who needs them.
5. Have the sitter take a defensive driving class. Some nanny agencies require this already. However, if you’re not going through an agency, or your sitter hasn’t taken a class, your insurance agent can help you track one down. You can also find a class through your local DMV.
6. Use technology to keep tabs. Parents can install a diagnostic tracker that monitors the car’s speed, location and performance. Apps and other technology can also be installed to restrict the driver’s smartphone usage while driving.