By, Dr. Lindsay Heller The Nanny Doctor
So, you are thinking about using a nanny cam…you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Let’s talk about how to handle and manage these fears. This is a delicate and sensitive issue. There are not only legal issues to consider but also how it may impact the relationship you have with your nanny.
If you are thinking about using a nanny cam, you probably have a lot of fears related to leaving your child with a nanny. Some of these fears are natural, while others may be common but irrational. You may have heard about nannies abusing children in the news and now that you have your own little one, you are deathly afraid. First of all, you need to know that nannies rarely abuse children. Secondly, you need to know that it is natural to be a little afraid and cautious, however, your fear shouldn’t paralyze you, it should lead you to make good choices about who cares for your child and listening to your gut. Knowledge builds confidence, so please vet your nanny carefully using the eNannySource Nanny Success Kit and Nanny Background Check before hiring a nanny and using a nanny cam.
First Things First
When it comes to using a nanny cam, I recommend that you let the nanny know in the interview that you are planning to use one. Now, for some this may seem contradictory, however, it is not! I’d rather that an incident is completely prevented rather than “caught” and being up front about your use of a nanny cam can raise awareness for the nanny and help to prevent any issues.
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 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 camera.” This way you are hiring someone who you know is comfortable with this practice. A nanny who finds out after some time working for your family that there is a nanny cam may feel insulted and any trust you may have built will be ruined.
Is it legal?
The short answer is it is legal to use a hidden camera in all 50 states, however it is illegal to record someone’s speech in 15 states without their consent. California Video recording of “confidential communications” is prohibited without consent. The laws of 13 states expressly prohibit the unauthorized installation or use of cameras in private places. In some states, installation or use of any device for photographing, observing or overhearing events or sounds in a private place without the permission of the people photographed or observed is against the law. 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 care providers are not necessarily against video taping of 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. Some parents handle the situation by telling a potential care provider upfront that a nanny cam 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.
A final note
If you feel so concerned about someone caring for your children, you should listen to that gut instinct and not hire them to care for your children. If you think you are feeling a little anxious as a new parent and need the nanny cam to get through the initial transition period, however, that’s completely understandable.