The 8 Nanny Background Checks You Need To Be Doing

The 8 Nanny Background Checks You Need To Be Doing

by Martha Scully

So you are ready to move forward with a babysitter or nanny that you’ve interviewed. You are hiring a person that will be trusted with the responsibility for your child’s life. Completing a full screening of a sitter is always recommended. Here is a list of background checks you should do, based on the specific duties the sitter will be providing your family.

The Nanny/Sitter Background Check Checklist

1. References

Do not hire a nanny or sitter if you cannot check references! Even if you were referred by a friend or family member, outside references should be completed. When a nanny does not work out, and safety was the concern, a parent will often inform past references. Try to check out at least two references related to the caregivers past experience with children.

Ask references specific questions like

  • Are you related to the caregiver?
  • Do you think she could handle a screaming or sick infant?
  • Could she handle an emergency?
  • Did your children like her?
  • Did she follow the house rules?
  • Was there ever been an unpleasant incident?
  • Did the nanny/sitter had any attendance issues?
  • Is there anything else I need to know?
  • Would you hire her again?

Our sister site as complete guide to hiring nannies with an excellent list of sample nanny reference questions

2. First Aid / CPR Verification

When caring for children, a nanny or babysitter should have this training. If you feel that this sitter is going to be a regular caregiver, you could offer to pay for it. At the very least she should have Emergency First Aid. These courses are offered very regularly in most communities.

Training Courses Available from but not limited to: - USA: American Red Cross— offers First Aid and CPR training specifically geared to nannies, sitters, au pairs and caregivers 16 years and older - Canada: St. John Ambulance

3. Swimming Level Verification

If you have a pool, live on the water, or expect your caregiver to be taking the kids swimming do not hire a sitter that cannot swim. Verify before hiring, that her strength in the water is at a sufficient level and that she has a strong understanding of water safety. All swimming course provide verification and certificates of completion.

4. SSN Trace

This type of screening is to compare Social Security Number and Public Records. Possible fake names and address sometimes appear during this trace. It is important to know that the SSN trace should not be used as the sole method to confirm identification of a person because it is not done through the Social Security Administration.

This is a compiled history of criminal records. Sources are usually Department of corrections and Offices of the Court. Information sometimes can go as far back as 7-10 years.

6. National Sex Offender Registry

A Nationwide search that can be conducted in 49 states. The search has information on offenses, and sometimes even photos of individual sex offenders. For more information please visit the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Website: NSOPW

7. Driving Record (Driving Abstract)

Usually available at your local DMV’s (Department of Motor Vehicles). This information can provide you with a history of violations, and collisions. If a babysitter is regularly driving your children, it is recommended to conduct this search. If she is driving your children in her car, you will want to ensure that she is properly insured and that the car is completely safe for children., although not an official government website, can help you locate the nearest DMV office.

8. Education Verification

Education is often not an important consideration when hiring a babysitter. But if you are hiring a sitter based on it, you may want to verify by asking to see certificates, diplomas, or transcripts.

Background Checking Services

If you do not have time to complete these steps, there are many services that can do some of the above screening for you for a small fee. Here are a few:

In Canada, our sister site offers background checking services that include driver abstract, criminal record check, and education verification:

More Information

We value you and your family’s safety. We recommend you conduct a background check before you hire any potential child care candidates. For more information on background checks for child caregivers visit our Sitter Background Check Information Page.

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About the Author
Martha Scully
Martha is the founder of Martha has been featured as a Child Care Expert in hundreds of publications across Canada including The Globe and Mail, CBC, Today's Parent and The National Post, She lives in British Columbia with her husband and two daughters.