Solomiya Malovana/Shutterstock

What A Police Officer Wants You To Know About Hiring A Babysitter, So You & Your Kids Are Safe

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Being married to a police officer comes with a lot of challenges. Yes, there's everything you'd expect, like fearing for them while they're working, and dealing with the increasing tensions surrounding procedure — especially in our very progressive and liberal home — but there's also the security bits I deal with. Things like which purse I carry and how I search for a babysitter become very complicated when they encounter the wall known as that guy I married. The babysitter thing, though? I'll allow it. It's important and what a police officer wants you to know about hiring a babysitter can really make a difference in your home.

Police officers may have a different approach to hiring a babysitter than a civilian. They're likely going to examine each individual with much more scrutiny, and the interview process will be longer and more in depth than you may conduct on your own. There is a big emphasis on references, background checks, cameras in the home, and certifications. When a cop hires a sitter for their kid, they are meticulous in the areas of security and safety, which may mean that their partner has to look at the equally important aspects of temperament and personality.

When my husband and I have decided upon childcare, it has very much become an issue of "good cop, bad cop," and so far that's worked for us.

Ad failed to load
Giphy

My husband, Tim, is an officer right here in New York City. Day to day he deals with some of the very scary sides of childhood. Everything from bad babysitters, to domestic violence, to kids in the system. It's hard, and I know it grates on him. Even after almost 19 years on the job, there are still cases that get to him, and it's almost always when it involves children — especially now that he has a few of his own. (Even though he's always loved kids, having previously worked at a summer camp and in a program for mediation in public schools.)

Obviously, I didn't look any further than him and our experiences when it comes to hiring a babysitter. I will say, he's complete crap when it comes to things like, "Will they know how to play dolls?" or "Can they make macaroni?" However, he's dead on when it comes to "investigate every aspect of this person like you're hiring them to be a top-secret operative in the CIA. We're talking Quantico, people." He is also very good at asking questions to get good answers. If there's a hole in their story, he'll find it. He'll exploit it, and he'll dismiss them.

Ad failed to load

Our poor kids will have such a hard time as teenagers. One of their parents is a cop, the other was just a really badly behaved teenager who got terribly good at not getting caught. Our kids are so, so screwed.

Giphy

What a police officer wants you to know about hiring a babysitter is actually pretty simple. Tim says you need to make sure you get a full background check. The process for this varies from state-to-state, but here in NYC, it's done through the DMV. Even if you're hiring through a service, get your own check. It's money well spent and lets you decide what is and isn't acceptable.

Ad failed to load

Get a minimum of three references, preferably with at least one of them being from a teacher or place of employment, like a company or business — something or someone you can Google to corroborate that they're in good hands. Make sure you can call that contact at their place of work, or that you can be assured they work there. This is an additional layer of security to make certain the references are legitimate. It could also be from a volunteer organization or a place of worship. Talk to the references; don't just confirm employment.

Tim also adds, "Get cameras. Always have cameras." He says everywhere the baby will be, the camera should also be, except the bathroom, because the babysitter will also have to use those facilities.

Giphy
Ad failed to load

Make sure the person you hire has taken a lifesaving class and is certified in CPR and the Heimlich, as well as versed in what to do if your child becomes ill. Quiz them on dosages, administration of medicines, and the safe storage of medications. "Make sure if they have any drugs they need to take, that they know how to keep it away from your child," he adds.

Be very specific on where they can go and what they can do with your child, too. Ask them about park safety, sun safety, and food safety. Accidents can and will happen, and kids hurt themselves all the time. (Especially our kids as they inherited my complete lack of grace.) Find out how your babysitter would respond. Make a clear and decisive plan. Who to call, when to call, and where to go need to be in that action plan.

Trust your gut. If you don't click with the feeling, even if they're charming and answer everything correctly, listen to it. It doesn't matter if their references are fine and they've never received so much as a speeding ticket, if your gut says no — move on. "Your gut knows more than you do sometimes," Tim says.

Ad failed to load

My husband listens to his gut more than most people I know. It's a big part of the reason we got engaged just three months after meeting; he's a gut instinct kind of a guy. But that being said, he always has primary plans, contingency plans, and a slew of preventative measures designed to keep our children and me safe. It can be a pain — I haven't had a purse without a zipper in 14 years — but I understand where it comes from. So maybe take his advice on this one — he knows what he's talking about.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}