It’s a scary thought, leaving your new baby at home with someone that’s not you for the first time. And it’s especially hard if you don’t have any close friends, family, or neighbors you can rely on. That’s where babysitters come into play. It can be pretty scary leaving your kid with someone you don’t know very well, or in some cases, have never met in person, and you want your baby to be safe as possible. So you may be wondering how to run a background check on a babysitter — because at least this can give you some sort of peace of mind, right?
Thankfully, most legitimate babysitting companies have already done background checks on all of their sitters and caregivers before allowing them to be a part of the organization. Places like Care, Sittercity, The Babysitting Company, Urbansitter, and Your Happy Nest, to name a few, make sure all of their potential babysitters and caregivers are on the up and up and have already passed a background check, among other qualifications. And if you simply Google “Babysitting services near me,” you’ll be provided with a list of local sitting services in your area. If the idea of going through an organization still makes you nervous, there are ways to do a background check yourself — though it can get pretty expensive. And some parents even require their babysitters to do a background check on themselves and then bring the results to the first interview.
To run a background check on a potential babysitter yourself, you’ll first need to ask the individual for their full (legal) name, social security number, and driver’s license. Then you can use a website like Criminal Watchdog and pay for a background check. The cost of each background check varies depending on the scope of your search. One of the cheaper comprehensive packages is $18.95, and it’s a national search that will include a national criminal search, a national sex offender search, a terrorist watch list check, and if they are FCRA compliant. It will also check if they’re on the FBI’s most wanted list, America’s most wanted list, and any other records that detail whether they’ve had a felony, misdemeanor, were an inmate, are on probation, and/or any other criminal offense.
For driving records (if the babysitter will be driving your kid around), you can call the DMV for driving records or do it online in some states. They’ll be able to look it up based on the driver’s license number and social security number, and the records will indicate any convictions, violations, suspensions, or accidents — depending on the state — according to the Criminal Watchdog website. You can also look at the sex offender registry to see if their name is on that list, as all sex offender registries are public information.
As far as child abuse and neglect records, contact the state’s child protective services and see if your particular state’s office allows employers to check for the babysitter’s name on their registry. However, each state is different, and yours may not allow this.
And finally, reference checks are another additional way to make sure your babysitter is up to snuff. Ask the potential candidate for a list of references – preferably other families they’ve sat for — and give each of them a call. Have a list of questions ready. Criminal Watchdog also suggests asking your potential candidate for a full employment history and call past employers who aren’t even on the reference list for a “more complete picture.”
No matter which way you go about hiring a babysitter, knowing they've had a background check and them providing references is super important, and will definitely give you a little bit of peace of mind in a stressful situation. Good luck, and remember that it will all be OK! Enjoy yourself for an evening out — you've earned it.