Emergency backup care for sick kids?

Prior to the pandemic, my family used Swiss Cheese, which was a great service to get regular childcare hours beyond what our nanny could offer, but also for emergency next-day care (including nominally for sick kids, though I did not use it in that capacity).

As many of you know, Swiss Cheese shut down during the pandemic.

Parents who don't have family in the area, what resources do you use for finding last-minute backup care nowadays, especially with <24 hours notice and for sick kids?

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I've had luck with UrbanSitter!

Hi there,

Given the covid situation, my understanding is that if you have a sick kid, you need to stay home with them and should not hire it out, especially if you aren’t sure about covid. I am home with my sick kid today and probably tomorrow until we get a negative PCR and I feel that employers have to deal with it. I’m missing an important event tomorrow. This is the reality of covid life… kids are sent home with coughs, runny noses, you name it.

I was also disappointed to see that Swiss Cheese shut down due to the pandemic.  I have been using Urban Sitter as my primary backup care option since then.  The subscription fee is more expensive than Swiss Cheese ($35/month or $135/year last time I checked).  I have had success finding people with as little as 2 hours' notice.  Like other backup childcare platforms, it can be a bit of a mixed bag regarding who you get.  You can view profiles, see other parent reviews and see how many bookings each sitter has completed on the platform to help you filter and pick people.  That said, some sitters are more engaged than others.  If you are willing to try out a few people, you can indeed find some gems and then have those be the people you contact first when you need backup care in the future.  Feel free to direct message me, and I would be happy to share more or answer any questions you might have.   

Urban sitter or care.com are great for last-minute sitters, but I would only use them if your kids aren't actually sick. Even if it's not COVID, if you hire a sitter and they catch a cold from your kid, the sitter could spread the cold to other kids they're watching and then those families would have to deal with keeping their kids out of school. So unfortunately we are all on our own now when our kids are sick. We have had to take PTO when our kids have been out sick.