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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Should I Let My Nanny Drive My Kids Around?



When it comes to having someone else transport their children from place to place in a vehicle, many parents have justifiable apprehensions. But as is the case with many personal decisions, when it comes to allowing your nanny to transport your children, there isn’t one answer that’s right for everyone.
As with most every choice, there will be pros and cons to your decision. When you allow your nanny to transport your children around it opens up the door to a new level of customized, personalized, and individualized childcare. Nannies who are allowed to transport their charges can embark on a variety of age-appropriate outings that they may not otherwise be able to venture on. These include trips to the library, local museums, zoo, parks, and friend’s homes for play dates. When parents allow their nanny to transport their children, it also opens the possibility for their children to partake in other rich social experiences, such as attending ‘mommy and me’ type classes or playgroups. Nannies who can transport the children can also take their charges to doctor and dentist appointments, preschool classes, or to any other necessary appointments that otherwise would pose a scheduling conflict for the child’s parents.
However, granting transportation rights also may have some downsides. For parents who worry about their children’s safety, their worry may outweigh any potential benefits of their children leaving their home in a vehicle driven by their nanny. Parents may worry that their nanny will abuse the transportation privilege and embark on errand running or other unapproved outings. For some parents, worry about giving over control of where their child goes and when to their nanny is a real concern.
Before making your decision on if you’ll allow your nanny to transport the children, consider these 5 factors:
Driving record and experience. Part of your nanny’s pre-employment screening should have included a driving record check. If you didn’t do one prior to hiring, now is the time to conduct one. Reviewing a copy of your nanny’s driving record will provide information on driving patterns, citations, and violations. But, as you know, the record will only include instances of bad driving if your nanny was caught. Taking your nanny for your own test drive or two can help give you a sense of her driving style. Inquiring to past nanny employers about your nanny’s experience in transporting her charges could also provide helpful insight.
Car seat and passenger safety knowledge. Chances are, if your nanny pointed out that your car seats were installed incorrectly (which up to 90% or more are), she’s concerned and knowledgeable about child passenger and car seat safety. Other indicators would include if she suggests you have your seats checked by a child passenger safety technician or if she is a safety technician herself, points out any aftermarket car seat products you have and suggested that they not be used, and asks if you have the children’s emergency contact information affixed to their car seats.
Insurance. When anyone is transporting your children you’ll want to be sure that they have proof of the proper insurance. If your nanny would be using your vehicle to transport the children, you’ll also want to make sure she is added as an additional insured driver. If she’ll be using her own vehicle, you’ll want to ensure that her coverage allows for transporting children as part of her job duties. Whether your nanny would be driving your vehicle or hers, it’s important to make sure that it’s safe for transporting the children.
Boundaries. For some parents, allowing their nanny to transport their children is not a black and white issue. For example, in some instances driving back roads to the library may be acceptable, but driving on the highway to the zoo is not. Some parents won’t want their nanny doing any personal errands, and others will gladly allow their child to accompany their nanny to the bank or post office, where they can experience and learn about waiting in line, how the bank or post office works, and what the workers there do. Some parents may prefer that their nanny calls upon leaving home and arriving at her destination, while others view that as an added stress and prefer the nanny to just call if assistance is needed.  Establishing boundaries that fit your family and clearly communicating them to the nanny can ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to transporting the kids.
Your comfort level. Above all else, your comfort level must be considered as you contemplate allowing your nanny to drive your children. Evaluating your level of trust for your nanny, your realistic versus perceived fears, and how much discomfort you’re willing to endure if it means your children having the opportunities you want them to have will help guide you in your decision making.
When hiring a nanny, it’s essential to discuss the possibility of her driving the children during the interview. Many nannies expect that they’ll be allowed to transport the children, especially if they work outside the realms of public transportation. If your nanny has that expectation and it wasn’t uncovered prior to the nanny’s start date, it could be problematic. Few seasoned and professional nannies are willing to take on a position that requires them to stay in the home all of the time. If you’re against your nanny transporting the children, hiring a nanny without a license may be your best bet, as a nanny who doesn’t drive won’t have any interest in transporting your children.
  P.S. This post was  proposed to me for publication by Lindsay Samuels. I'm therefore publishing it by her invitation and under her permission. See also the link below fore more information:

http://www.nannybackgroundcheck.com/blog/should-i-let-my-nanny-drive-my-kids-around/

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