7 Things to Know Before Your Nanny Drives Your Kids
Will your nanny be getting in the car with your children? Follow these safety tips.
Leaving your children in the care of others is stressful. It's difficult to relinquish control -- even with someone you know and trust.
When you hire a nanny, she'll probably be driving your kids around -- which adds yet another layer of concern. Between car seats, booster seats, vehicle safety and other issues, you want to make sure your little ones will always make it safely from point A to point B.
Before you let your nanny in the car with your kids, follow these seven points:?
Check Your Nanny's Driving Record
Although we all make mistakes or gotten caught in speed traps, you'll have more peace of mind if you hire a nanny with a clean driving record.
How do you find out about her history? Request a Criminal+ MVR or Premier Background Check through Care.com, both of which include a Motor Vehicle Record Check. Learn more in our Background Check Guide
If your potential nanny's record is marred, take specifics into consideration. When did it happen? If it was 10 years ago when she was first learning to drive, it may not be a huge red flag. Was it a major or minor infraction? How many incidents are there? If your potential nanny has a two-point speeding ticket from five years ago, she probably obeys traffic laws most of the time. If she has multiple or recent infractions or has few points left on her license, you may want to reconsider hiring her if she'll be driving your kids.
When you talk to her references, ask about driving. Did she transport the person's children? Were there ever any issues or concerns?
Find out How to Interview a Nanny
Give the Car a Once-Over
Some people who hire nannies either provide them with dedicated vehicles for them to use or let them drive one of the family's cars on an as-needed basis. If that's not practical for you, and she needs to use her personal car, look over at vehicle. Your kids will be riding in it and you want to make sure it's safe.
Ask about her last inspection and how often she sends it for maintenance. Check that car seats and booster seats fit comfortably and can be securely fastened -- and that she knows how to install them. Look at the tread on the tires -- worn tires can lead to blow outs and other types of accidents, so make sure her tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Review the car for any other safety features you would inspect at when purchasing a car.
If anything looks suspicious, offer to pay for her car to be inspected and fixed with a mechanic you trust. If all it needs is a little cleaning, offer to have it detailed for her regularly.
Read about Handling the Car Situation with Your Nanny
Set Rules for Gas and Mileage Reimbursement
Whether you want to reimburse your nanny for gas, make it part of her salary or have her cover the cost, you should both agree to the terms up front. Make sure everything is included in your nanny contract, so you can refer to the agreement if an issue arises. Detail how much is covered, including standard mileage charges, mileage amounts and any other concerns either of you have.
Learn more about How to Reimburse a Nanny for Gas and Mileage
Insist on Insurance
Regardless of whether your nanny is driving her car or yours, it's necessary for her to be insured. If she's driving your car, ask your agent how you can add her to your policy. If she's driving her own car, ask for copies of her license and insurance card and keep them up-to-date. Accidents happen. If she has a fender bender in the school parking lot, you don't have to worry about having to cover it out of pocket.
Decide: Do You Need Nanny Insurance?
Establish Driving Rules
Along with the rules for gas reimbursement, agree on rules for when she's driving your children. Jobs in which driving is part of work requirements have rules employees need to follow in the company car -- a nanny job is no different.
Detail how often she's expected to drive the children around. Do you want her to solely drive the kids to and from school or she is expected to chauffer kids to activities and run errands? Go over rules about speed limits and talking or texting on the phone while in the car. All this should be established before she gets behind the wheel.
Incorporate all of this information in the nanny contract -- it can help avoid misunderstandings.
Consider Other Alternatives
If you're still hesitant about letting your nanny drive the kids around, reconsider whether or not you will let her do it at all. If she doesn't have to drive anywhere, then don't ask her to. People who live in walkable cities with abundant public transportation can consider this option, though it may not be a possibility for people who live in the suburbs or more remote locations.
In this case, limit activities to only walkable locations. Calculate how much taxis would cost on an occasional basis -- it might be cheaper than adding up gas mileage and car insurance if it's only infrequent.
If she has to transport your kids around, do a test drive to see her road habits for yourself. Or start by having her drive the kids around while you're in the car with her.
Letting someone else take the reins once in a while takes a little courage. If you do your homework before hiring, and do a full screening of your applicants, you can relax and know your kids are in safe hands.
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Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found here.