In most circumstances, you won't ever have to worry about your child when they're under the care of a babysitter. Most babysitters, nannies and childcare professionals are passionate and dedicated about their work, and your little one will thrive under their care. However, leaving your child with someone you don’t know very well is always a scary experience. If it's the first time you're heading out to work or for a well-deserved night out and leaving the kids with a babysitter you've not used before –it's only natural to be worried about their safety and well-being. You're a parent, so you'll always feel protective and concerned about your children. 

Nanny Cam

Nanny cams - how they can help to protect your little ones

This is why many parents choose to use surveillance cameras (also known as ‘nanny cams’) to monitor their children while away from the home. The primary reason for using them is peace of mind. You don’t need to trawl through the footage every single night, although it's normal to do this at first until your fears are allayed. Just knowing that the camera is there can make you feel better about trusting your babysitter, as you're keeping a watchful eye on things when you're not at home.

A surveillance camera is there just in case you need it. It can make you feel much better about going out and trusting your babysitter with the care of your children, but it can also be invaluable if something goes wrong. For example, your child is behaving a little strangely, or perhaps they have a bump or a graze and you're worried about it. In most cases, there will be nothing to worry about, but a quick look through the footage for the last few days will clear everything up. If your babysitter is not living up to your high standards, you can have a talk with them or perhaps find a replacement. You may discover that the babysitter is engaging in behaviour you disapprove of around your children, such as:

  • Smoking, even if they do it out of a door or window – the smoke can still affect the health of your child
  • Drinking alcohol or taking drugs
  • Ignoring your requests –, for example, not discouraging bad behaviour or letting your child have too many unhealthy foods
  • Having partners or friends over to the house when you're not there
  • Not being watchful enough of your children –leads to accidents or distress for the child


Nanny Smoking

If the worst should happen and you uncover instances of neglect or abuse, you can stop it in its tracks. The babysitter can be reported to the police and your child (and other children the babysitter may look after) will be kept safe. Please remember that this kind of situation is very rare and that most babysitters are caring and dedicated –it's important not to become paranoid!

The ethics of using nanny cams

One of the first questions you're likely to have when considering nanny cams is – won’t my babysitter mind being filmed? Is it ethical to film them in secret? The answer to these questions is all dependent on your approach to using surveillance cameras. Many parents find that it's far better to be upfront and honest with the babysitter at the start. Explain that you are very protective of your children and only want to keep an eye on them. You aren't trying to invade anyone’s privacy – it’s just a condition of taking on the job. If you explain clearly how you will use cameras and the footage from them, the babysitter can then decide whether he or she can work with these conditions. If they agree, there’s nothing to worry about.

If they decide the job isn't for them, you can find someone else who is comfortable with it. Knowing that cameras are in use can also act as a deterrent to any negative behaviour from your babysitter. They can act as an incentive for improving the quality of care, which is great news for everyone. If you choose to use cameras but don’t tell the babysitter about them, this is up to you. However, you will be running the risk of your babysitter finding out and feeling that you don’t trust them – or that you're invading their privacy or monitoring them in an inappropriate way. This can lead to upset and potentially the babysitter quitting, which is disruptive and distressing for everyone. You could even face legal action, even if you haven’t broken the law. Most parents would prefer not to run these risks, and it's much easier to come clean at the start.

It’s your home, but your babysitter has a right to privacy

As for the legal implications of using surveillance cameras in your home, there are a few simple but essential rules to follow. It may be your home and you have the right to film there, but your babysitter also has a right to privacy in his or her place of work. This means you can’t use cameras anywhere the babysitter has a reasonable right to privacy, such as in bathrooms or changing rooms. If you have a live-in nanny, you can’t put cameras in his or her bedroom.

You must also be very careful with the footage your cameras record. You need to ensure that it's kept safe, secure and for your use only – for the specific purpose of monitoring the safety and well-being of your child under the care of a babysitter. You must'n’t sell or give away the footage to any third party, or share it online. All of these things could represent breaches of your babysitter’s privacy as well as data protection laws. For advice on the right surveillance cameras to use to monitor babysitting at your home, get in touch with the experts at Online Spy Shop.