Signs That Raise Red Flags For A Bad Babysitter

Every parent fears that their child will get into the wrong hands by an abusive or neglectful caregiver. Just recently I read a story about a couple who discovered their babysitter had been abusive to their child after suspicions led them to install hidden cameras (tip: you can use a video baby monitor if you have one ). Many times good parents unknowingly leave their children under the care of a babysitter, nanny, or even a relative who treats the child negatively after the parents are gone. We can’t always be with our kids and at some point in your baby’s first year you will likely need to leave them with a caregiver for a period of time. Here are some signs to look for that could indicate you might have a bad babysitter.

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Warning Signs to Look For

Babies can’t verbally tell you that something’s wrong, but their behavior could be cues that there’s something going on. These are some things to look for that raise a red flag towards a bad babysitter.

Baby cries or seems scared of babysitter – This isn’t always easy to spot on because babies and children often cry when mom and dad have to leave. This is a form of separation anxiety that many infants and toddlers feel, which is completely normal. After a certain period of time, however if your child still cries or appears uneasy with being left with the caregiver they may have good reason to be scared.

Little feedback from the caregiver’s time with baby– As most parents do, it’s always best to go over what your babysitter did while you were out. Ask questions about baby’s day, their activity and what things your babysitter did with them while you were out. If they seem to provide very little information or you feel they’re withholding key points of the time spent with your child it could be a sign that there’s something they aren’t telling you.

Change in child’s behavior  Young children can be quite finicky at times but parents can typically predict their behavior and attitude. If you notice a sudden change in their behavior such as all of a sudden they become clingy, especially at the time the babysitter normally looks after them it could be a warning sign. Other things like increased hunger or sleepiness after having been under the sitter’s care when they should have been fed or taken a nap could indicate neglect or they aren’t following your schedule.

Indications that your caregiver is lying to you – If your babysitter was expected to feed and bathe your child and you notice the number of bottles left in the fridge aren’t adding up to the supposed feedings or your child is always dirty after they’ve been under their care they may be neglectful which is not OK. Additionally, any signs that they’re lying or stealing from you are red flags that your caregiver is untrustworthy.

Frequent accidents – It’s no secret that kids are fast and can quickly get into things they shouldn’t which is why baby proofing is so important. If you notice that your child has experienced frequent accidents that should have been avoided under careful supervision it could be that your caregiver isn’t watching or paying close attention to your child as they should. This could be really dangerous to your child’s well-being so if accidents are becoming a common occurrence while under their care it’s time to switch to a new sitter.

Physical signs – Check for any physical signs that are out of the normal. It is common for babies and toddlers to get little bumps and bruises once they become mobile, however a younger baby who isn’t crawling around yet shouldn’t have unusual bruises on their arms or legs. If you notice frequent bruising after your child has been left under their care to which they haven’t attributed for (such as a supposed fall or any type of accident the caregiver didn’t tell you about) these could be signs of abuse. Likewise, signs such as mild to severe diaper rash that is not typical of your child, especially after they’ve been under their care or the baby/child appears to have been in wet/soiled clothes for a length of time are signs of neglect and should result in immediate termination.

Motherly instincts – parents usually have natural instincts when it comes to their child that they can tell when something isn’t right. If for any reason you suspect something’s wrong or your just don’t feel right about leaving your child with them (apart from simply not spending time your baby) then it could be your motherly (or fatherly) instincts telling you to steer clear. You should feel comfortable about the person you’re trusting your baby’s care with so if you don’t then you should look for someone else.

What Should You Do if You Suspect a Bad Babysitter

If for any reason, such as the signs mentioned above, you suspect your babysitter is not doing their job you can take necessary action to ensure your child’s safety.

cameraHidden cameras – Many parents don’t have to suspect something’s wrong to install a hidden nanny cam. They may just do it as a preventive measure in the instance that something would possibly happen. Likewise, if you hire someone you genuinely trust and respect  then by letting them know that you do have cameras in place could prevent any unwanted incidences from happening in the first place. You don’t have to tell them where they are but just assure them they are for security purposes (such as theft or break-ins) so as not to lose their trust. There are even baby monitors that are capable of sending live video of your baby to your mobile device so you can keep an eye on them while you’re away.

Report them – If you notice obvious signs of abuse or neglect by your caregiver, report them. If you do happen to catch foul play on video or even audio, it can be used in a police report as evidence against the person so that other children won’t become victims of this person’s negligence or abuse.

Have an indoor pet – This isn’t always a sure-fire way to avoid or take care of issues with your caregiver but in many cases, an indoor pet has clued parents in that something wasn’t right. If your pet is generally friendly or accepting of most guests in your home but suddenly turns aggressive or seems overly protective specifically towards your caregiver, they could be trying to tell you something.

Use reputable sites for babysitting services – there are several sites such as that list screened references for babysitters, nannies, and caregivers with positive credentials that help parents to feel more at ease about who they’re hiring to care for their child when they are away. If you don’t have someone in mind that you know you can trust to leave your child with then use these services to seek recommendations.


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