How to Protect Your Family through Babysitter Background Checks

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Hiring a babysitter or nanny is not something to be taken lightly. This is the person that will be responsible for your children's health and well-being when you are not there. Hiring this person without doing your due diligence is not a good idea; bad things happen every day, and if these things happen because you were not thorough, you will not be a happy person.

When hiring this person, the most important step to take is to do a background check on a web site like Instant Checkmate. However, simply doing this is not enough. Often times these checks do not pick up everything you need to know about a person to make a good decision about hiring them.

There are many mistakes that can easily be avoided when putting a babysitter or nanny through the application process.

Make sure the background check you choose to do is complete. Not all checks are created equal. It should include a national screening of criminal records, name and address/previous address history, a sexual offender list search, marriage/divorce records, and ideally much more.

Doing a detailed background check alone is still not enough. Background checks only screen for crimes where the person was convicted, not necessarily those in which he or she was accused and acquitted. Passing a background check doesn't mean someone is innocent; it is possible that it just means they have not yet been caught or convicted.

Make sure to thoroughly check a person's references. If the references only include friends and family, ask for people who they have previously worked with. Biased references do no good. Ask these references about work habits and duties. Most people do not like to say negative things about people. Make the questions personal. Ask them if they would hire the person to be their child's babysitter.

Be sure to do your own search on the Internet. "Google" the babysitter's name. You never know what might turn up; the Internet is very wide in scope these days, and people's names show up everywhere. You never know what you might find when searching online. It could be something as simple as an inappropriate picture or speech.

If, on the babysitter's application, there are long periods of time between jobs, be sure to ask why. The applicant could be covering up getting fired, or at least bad job performance. Those who skip from job to job also are often unreliable, at best.

Do not, under any circumstances, rush the search for a new babysitter. Many people lose a babysitter or nanny and find themselves in a hurry to get a new one. Leave yourself at least a month for the process; you will thank yourself later.

Finally, there are a few things that should definitely turn you off from new prospects. If an applicant has no phone number or work reference numbers, turn them away. Same with if they have no driver's license or SSN. Two other red flags are a lot of short-term jobs and moving frequently. If any of these turn up, you should probably avoid hiring that person.

Protecting your family is your number one goal in life. It is tempting to just hire a new babysitter or nanny based on first impressions. This is not a good idea for the safety of your children. Be sure you do background checks, and the other extra things listed above, to make sure your new babysitter is everything he or she seems to be. Not doing the proper research could turn out to be something you never forgive yourself for later.

Kristen Bright covers topics related to online safety and family matters. Her work has been picked up by several publications online and she currently provides freelance work for companies such as Instant Checkmate. She more of her work on the Instant Check Mate blog, which is featured on Myspace.

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