Training a nanny in case of emergency

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Safety is always first when it comes to children and families. The trick is being prepared. That also means making sure your nanny is prepared and educated about your safety plan and what you expect.

Various levels of emergencies may occur while your children are in the care of your nanny. Your child may just have a skinned knee, or they may have fallen off their bike and knocked a tooth out, your child may have an allergic reaction. Your nanny needs to know what the plan is in case of an emergency.

Safety Prevention and Preparation

There are many things you can do to prep your home and family prior to an emergency. Here are some tips:

  • Develop a “House Book” where you keep important information such as:
    1. Medical cards for each child.
    2. A letter of consent for your nanny to get your child medical care in the case of emergency.
    3. A list of all important phone numbers, addresses, and e-mails.
    4. A map of your neighborhood.
    5. The address and directions to the local hospital.
    6. A list of any medications anyone is on in the house and their dosages. Also any allergies.
    7. You may also choose to make a “quick list” that is business card size and laminated and have your nanny have it in her purse and one stored in the stroller.
  • Have a fully-stocked First Aid Kit available in a primary location of the home (usually the kitchen), but also place first aid kits around your home in bathrooms, your car and even grab a travel kit for your purse.
  • All adults in the house – nanny – parents – housekeepers – should be trained in infant/child/adult cpr/first aid. Make it an event and do it all together!
  • Make sure your nanny knows how to swim!
  • Have an evacuation plan as well as a meet-up spot. For example, everyone agrees to meet back at the home regardless of where they are in the city. Your evacuation plan should be feasible for the age of the children involved. Make sure if there is a “window escape” there is a rope ladder. Also discuss fire safety with your children and nanny and educate them about feeling a door to see if it is hot before opening it, getting low on the floor on their hands and knees if there is a lot of smoke.
  • If you have an alarm system in your home, make sure your nanny knows how to set the alarm and how to disarm the alarm as well.
  • In the case of emergency or natural disaster such as an earthquake, ensure that you have a kit that included non-perishable food, batteries, radio, and plenty of water for at least 3 days. Don’t forget if you have pets, they will need their own food and water supply as well.
  • Children should be educated about what to do in an emergency as well. They should have knowledge of 911 and when to call.
  • Your nanny should be educated in installing the car seat properly. I also recommend that you provide the nanny with her own car seat, to prevent error from constantly moving the car seat from one car to another.

In a true emergency, a case where it is immediately considered life or death, 911 should always be called immediately. Ongoing healthy communication with your nanny will also contribute to safety plans being carried out efficiently and successfully.

Pros and Cons of using a nanny cam

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As a parent, especially a new parent, you may be concerned about leaving your child with a caregiver other than yourself. As a result of these concerns, you may think about using a nanny cam. This is a delicate issue that should be handled in a sensitive manner. There are not only legal issues to consider but also the impact on your relationship with your nanny. If you are considering using a nanny camera you should become aware of the laws in your state. In addition to the laws, you may want to think about how this may affect your relationship with your nanny. Trust is very important in this unique relationship and needs to be nurtured. If you are to go with a nanny cam, you should discuss this with your nanny interview candidates prior to hiring (in the interview) and once hired, have the nanny sign a document stating that they are aware of the “hidden nanny camera.” This way you are hiring someone who you know is comfortable with this practice.

The short answer to the legal question is, it is legal, to use a hidden camera in all 50 states. The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places. A private place is one where a person may reasonably expect to be safe from unauthorized surveillance. Consider that studies and polls show that many nannies are not necessarily against videotaping of child-nanny interaction, it’s just that they want to know about it. It seems to be a matter of trust and feeling of deception. Some parents handle the situation by telling a potential nanny care provider upfront that nanny cameras will be used so that they can feel comfortable and confident about their child’s care. It’s then up to the nanny to accept or decline the position with a family who uses a nanny cam. The decision whether to nanny cam or not really is a decision that is ultimately related to your fears and trust as a mother and employer.

If you are going to use nanny cams, I recommend that you let your nanny know at the beginning of the relationship, as early as the first interview. I would prefer that nannies bad behaviors were prevented, not “caught”. If you have a nanny cam and don’t tell your nanny and she finds out about it, the trust may be broken and your nanny may feel disrespected. A professional nanny will understand that in the beginning of the relationship trust is still being built. Studies and polls show that many nannies are not necessarily against videotaping of nanny child-provider interaction; it’s just that they want to know about it. It seems to be a matter of trust and feeling of deception. Being open with your nanny will help to build and maintain that trust.

In addition to nanny cams, if you are concerned about what your nanny is up to, here are a few more things you can do to check-up on your nanny:

  1. Have a neighbor drop by unexpectedly.
  2. Drop by on your lunch hour and check-in.
  3. Keep a regular schedule so you know when something is off.
  4. Is your TV warm? Has she been watching TV all day?
  5. If you see something suspicious, or are curious about something, question your nanny and discuss your concerns together.