Nanny Driving

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Nervous about Nanny Driving

Jan 2010

Our nanny wants to use her car to drive our 18 month old to
activities. I trust that she is a good driver but I am
wondering if nevertheless are there any concerns with
nannies driving? If she had an accident or got a parking
ticket would we (or our insurance) be responsible for her
damages? My inclination is just to avoid having her drive
our baby since it is not necessary (there are buses right
outside our house that can take them to the activities) but
would love to hear any feedback or experiences. Thanks.


So your nanny needs to provide you with a recent copy of her DMV driving
record, you need to add her to your insurance, and agree that that parking
tickets and accident deductible are on her or whatever you deem fair...make
sure her deductible on your car is reasonable if you carry a higher one for you.
you also need to make sure you have a decent liability policy in place.

I had the exact same concerns as you a couple years ago when
my kids were babies and posted a very similar message. I
loved and trusted our nanny but it made me very nervous to
think of them driving all over town. Even if your nanny is a
good driver, driving increases the risks to your child more
than almost any other behavior she might engage in (that you
wouldn't fire her for!) No, you wouldn't be responsible if
she got in an accident, unless she were driving YOUR car.

On the other hand, life at home all day with an 18mo can be
very boring, and while buses can be one solution, they also
make life more difficult. (I know because I have taken a lot
of them!) If your child starts to lose it on the park it's
hard to get home quickly on the bus. If you were a SAHM, you
would probably be driving lots of places all day with your

Here is the compromise I came up with. First, I made sure
that my nanny had up-to-date insurance and a valid license.
Second, I requested her driving record from the DMV. Third,
I talked to her openly about my concerns - basically the way
I have laid them out here, that driving is inherently risky
but that I understood her need to get out of the house. We
tried to come up with a plan of allowing, but minimizing,
car trips. Fourth, I asked her to talk to me about planned
car trips so that I would know about them in advance, and to
report at the end of the day where they had gone and via
what method. (You are probably doing this anyway.) All this
didn't make my anxiety go away, but it seemed a reasonable
compromise and seemed to make my nanny happy. Not to
mention, my kids certainly enjoyed going to all the diverse
places that the car opened up. (Then they started a home
daycare where they only walked places - and I was very
relieved to know where they were at any given moment of the
Good luck

Have your nanny put on your insurance as a driver. You may
or may not pay more- and the insurance company will tell you
if she's every been in trouble.

The advice you already received regarding driving record and insurance is good
and doing all these things is definitely a good idea. I just wanted to add a
different perspective, in case it's relevant. Like you, I also felt nervous when my
daughter's nanny asked whether she could drive with the baby. I ended up
telling her that she couldn't drive, and sometime later hired a new nanny (for
various reasons unrelated to driving). I realized later, however (and only after
the new nanny started working with us) that my nervousness about the first
nanny's driving had to do with a general discomfort with her. I simply didn't
trust her enough. The new nanny, on the other hand, was wonderful; I trusted
her fully and was happy to let her drive my daughter to the park, Tilden etc. I'm
very very glad that I switched nannies. If you have any doubts at all about your
nanny, hire someone else.

Considering Letting Nanny Drive

Feb 2007

We don't live within walking distance from any parks or other
fun places for our nanny to take our 8-month-old son.  Our
neighborhood is also pretty hilly, so although they go for a
walk everyday they never are able to go very far.  We are
considering buying a carseat for her car so that she can take
him to nearby places (such as playgrounds, zoo, etc.) now that
he's getting older.  She has worked for us since our son was 3
months old, and we really trust her with our son.  She drives a
reliable car and has a CA driver's license.  My question - have
others in similar positions checked their nanny's driving
record?  If I wanted to do so, how would I go about it?  Any
cautions for us in thinking about whether we should do this? 
When our first child was younger and home with a nanny (a
different one), we lived in a different area that was within
walking distance of a playground, library, and shops &
restaurants, so this was never an issue.

I know it's scary to trust someone else with driving your child
around. But since you have a good relationship with your nanny &
seem to trust her with everything else concerning your child's
safety, well-being, education, etc., I feel you should give her
the benefit of the doubt ... after a frank discussion.

The lack of transportation is probably hard for both your nanny
AND your son at this point. She should be able to provide him
with the educational & social opportunities that you would
provide if you were able to stay at home during the day. After
all, she is a professional.

I'm sure there are ways to check her driving record ... but even
if you discover something bad, it might not reflect her current
driving abilities. Most counties in California require drivers
who are involved in accidents or moving violations to pay fines &
attend traffic school.  Also, even normally cautious & safe
drivers sometimes have accidents ... which is why they call them

Make it a win-win situation & have a good, constructive
conversation with your nanny. Tell her nicely that you really
want her to be able to drive with your child, but are going
through the protective parent thang & have been trying to figure
out how to talk with her about her driving record without making
her feel like your your need to be cautious is a reflection on her.

Since she cares about your child & also would probably like to
get him & herself out of the house for some of the day, she will
probably be frank & forthcoming about whatever you need to know.

Good luck.

My advice is to get over it. You trust this woman with your
child's life and most intimate needs both physically and
emotionally but you don't think she can drive a car safely with
him/her in it? Accidents happen all the time, even to parents.
You are not guaranteed to avoid them either.

Yes, absolutely. I LOVED and completely trusted the nanny we
hired for my son for 1.5 years, but I nonetheless would not let
her drive with him until we had retrieved her driving record
from the DMV. There is a form you can download, and she signs
it. There is a small fee. The downside is that it takes a long
time (like 6-8 weeks)? I think she felt a little stir-crazy
waiting for the record to come, and ultimately there were no
accidents on it, but for me it was important to express just
how much that mattered to me. We worry about things like
nannies going crazy and abusing children and so forth based on
things we see on TV, but the fact is that ''everyday'' accidents
are much more likely to happen. And being a loving caregiver
does not necessarily correlate at all with being a good driver.

Another issue is the carseat installation and making sure that
is done appropriately - perhaps once you buy the seat you can
have her drive you (an opportunity for you to observe her
driving skills!) to a fire station or other location that is
willing to inspect seats. Again, a formality that expresses
just how important car safety is to you.

Last, you may want to discuss locations and times for driving,
because having the carseat certainly will give her a lot more
freedom. Do you want her to go only to a select few
parks/museums etc. that you know about? Or is it OK for her to
be more flexible, take your child on her bank errand, etc.?
Many people are perfectly comfortable with the latter, but
again, the driving component adds to the number of
possibilities. For me, I didn't like the idea of not knowing
where my child was at any given moment, so although personal
errands were OK with me, we discussed each morning where she
might be going in the car. In the end, it worked out great, and
I'm sure both my son and the nanny were much happier having the
flexibility that a car can provide, especially as he got older.
Good luck

I would go insane if I couldn't drive my charges. Especially
since there are so many cool parks that you must drive to.
Instead of asking her for a DMV printout, have her drive you
somewhere. You can make it casual, like a favor (paying for her
time of course), so she doesn't feel nervous like it's a test,
and you can observe and come to your own conclusions. Since she
won't know it's a test, she's more likely to drive how she
normally drives without thinking about it. Then you can go with
your gut feeling, and hopefully allow her to drive in the future.
Being mobile provides for many more enrichment activities.

Nanny Wants to Drive Instead of Walking

Nov 2005

We recently moved from Noe Valley to Albany. Our former nanny
(who sadly would not commute) did not drive. She either walked
or took Muni. Our new nanny wants to drive our child. She
doesn't drive far but she drives often and I'm really nervous
about it. Would it be completely unreasonable for me to
prohibit her from driving my daughter? We live 1 block from a
park, 2 blocks from Solano with all its shops, etc. 

Well, of course you're nervous! This is your child, you're talking about.
But this may be just another step in the letting go process.  First the
nanny, then the parents of nursery school friends, then the school bus
for field trips, then your child driving.  Each of these will evoke feelings of
protectiveness.  I remember being very worried about my child in the car
with his nanny.  But then I realized that the nanny was a safe, safe
driver, and that if anything should happen she would take utmost care of
my child.  Do you trust your nanny?  Does she have a good driving
record?  Can you try it out?  As your child gets older it might be fun for
him to go to Lawrence Hall of Science or Habitot, or a number of other
East Bay resources.

This shouldn't be an issue. If you are not comfortable with your nanny driving
your child around, then tell her so. If she has a problem with it, then she's not
the right nanny for you. I was a nanny in the past, and the driving issue was
always very clear. Some parents weren't okay with it, while to others it was no
big deal. It seems like you are very clear about how you feel, so you need to
express this to your nanny asap.

Yes, it is completely unreasonable to prohibit your nanny from
driving your daughter. You either trust her or you don't.
Identify if it is the nanny you have a problem with, or if it is
simply the notion of your darling girl being in a car with
another person.

I have been a nanny and if I were limited to just two places to
go, and on FOOT, I would have gone crazy. I drove to some parks
as far as 30 minutes away, and I rotated locations, so that the
kids (and I!) would not get bored. Variety is the spice of life.
You also don't want your daughter to have to be stuck in a rut
either. Misery would abound.

Here are your reasonable choices as I see it:
1/ Find a nanny you feel safe with
2/ Deal with your fears of others driving your child
3/ Switch to a daycare/preschool that has no outings

Does part-time nanny really need to drive baby?

June 2004

We have a wonderful part-time nanny (3days/wk)who has taken care
of our 10-month old son for the last five months.  She takes him
out for a walk every day for several hours.  We live within
walking distance of several parks, Grand Ave/Lakeshore shopping
district and Lake Merritt.  She recently asked us if it would be
OK to take our son on trips by car -- she mentioned she has
taken the children of other families to the Oakland Zoo,
Habitot, the library, other area parks, etc.  She has a CA
driver's license, cell phone, car with clean driving record and
car insurance. 

My husband thinks this is a fine idea and wants
to give her carte blanche to take our baby where-ever she wants
at her discretion, since he trusts her.  My first instinct was --
I trust her too (and I do), but why take the risk?  Also, I'm
uncomfortable not knowing where they are (what if there was an
earthquake and we didn't know where he was?) and feel it isn't
necessary at this age.  I work part-time and on the days that
I'm home I always take him on outings (to zoo, mom's group,
different area parks by car). 

Does he really need to go on a
big trip every day when there are convenient area parks within
walking distance?  Am I just being an over-protective first-time
mom?  Or, is my nanny bored and would it be good to let her take
him on trips to keep her happy (i.e. maybe she wants to take him
to a park where other nannies she knows meet and socialize)? 
How do you handle admission fees?  I'm afraid I may have harmed
our relationship when I told our nanny I'd rather wait until
he's older, implying that I don't trust her.  How do others
handle this-- i.e. do you have a policy where your nanny is
allowed to take the baby only to specific pre-approved places? 
Do you ask for notification before the trip? At what age would
you start this process of regular ''field-trips''?  Would you do
it when the benefit is mostly for the nanny (vs. baby) or is
what's good for the mental state of the nanny what is best for
baby? Thank you for your input.
Feeling defensive about being overprotective

I too have a part time nanny. I don't think there's anything
wrong with your cautiousness. If you don't feel good about it -
don't do it. I wouldn't let my nanny take my child on car-
excursions. Way too much could go wrong!  I don't mean to make
you overly cautious but I just think your position makes sense.
Instead,perhaps you can drop them off somewhere and you or your
husband can pick them up? Or find other fun things to do in your
neighborhood--like art or music or Gymboree classes. One thing I
did was take a picture of my nanny-initially just so my child
could haveat it (we have pics over his changing table) and get
used to her (since she is part time). Turns out it's not a bad
idea to have a photo of her just in case....  I am more trusting
than I sound--really!

I totally understand how you feel. If you don't feel comfortable
with having your nanny take your baby out on field trips then
say no thank you. You should always go with your gut and quite
frankly there is a lot that can be done to entertain a small
child at home. YOU can take her those other ''fun'' places. Why as
you put it...put any risk on car accidents and other things that
could come up outside of the home. Also there would be more cost
also. I mean you are hiring someone to care for your child in
the way that you want her to be cared for and the way that you
can feel comfortable. So assert what feels right for you. I felt
the same way when I had someone watching my baby.
No Field trips For me!

Our nanny started with us when my daughter was 10 months old.
Both my husband and myself did not feel comfortable having the
nanny drive our daughter anywhere. We figured for the three
days a week that the nanny was with my daughter they could go
for walks, play out on the deck or in the house. Between lunch
time and nap time the day was over by 4pm when I came home. I
did wonder if the nanny was bored in the house all of the time
but i figured that is what i am paying her for. I did not think
that it turned into a big issue about trust, only my preference
at the time.

I just want to validate your feelings.  My twins are nearly 8
and my little one 5 and I still have a hard time letting people
drive them places.  I'm embarassed to say that I went on their
two camp field trips last summer 'cause I was nervous about them
taking the bus.
Although I'm trying to get over myself (!) I can't help but feel
like you do.  I am sure my various nannies felt closed in having
to stay near home, but they were my babies and I didn't
apologize for my feelings.
If you do decide to try it out, I'd suggest explaining your
fears and own it, so your sitter doesn't feel mistrusted.  Ask
to have an agreed time to check in, know their whereabouts and
have her cell phone number on hand. If she wants to be
spontaneous, she can still fill you in on her plans.
I wish I could be more relaxed about my children's
safety...blame it on family history, 9/11 what have you, that's
just the way I am.  I must say, too, I've met many moms who feel
as I do, so I know I'm not alone!
Good luck.

If you're not comfortable with it, you're not comfortable.  I
doubt very much that alone would damage a relationship with a
nanny who is otherwise happy, especially since you're in a very
walkable part of town.  But, to answer some of your questions,
we do let our nanny drive our 14-month daughter.  We have her
use our car, because that way we know she's using a carseat that
is properly installed (she has older kids, and can't keep a
carseat installed in her car on a regular basis).  I checked
with my insurance and she is covered on our policy for this kind
of occasional use, which is also nice, because I'm sure I carry
much higher limits on my policy than she does on hers (policies
may differ, so check with your insurer if you go this route). 
So far our nanny hasn't taken our daughter out in the car that
often, probably fewer than ten times.  She lets us know where
she's planning on going, but I figure that it's really not much
different than taking her for a walk, and I don't ask her to
report in on where they're going for walks.  If she ever
mentioned plans to go somewhere I wasn't familiar with, I would
get more details, but it hasn't happened.  We do ask that our
daughter always nap at home and, since she's still a twice-a-day
napper, the trips are never that long.  The purpose of the trips
has varied, but mostly they would be put in the category of
being for our nanny's benefit.  For example, our daughter has
accompanied our nanny to a parent-teacher conference for our
nanny's daughter that couldn't be scheduled any other time. If
our nanny started wanting to do these sort of errands with our
daughter more often, I might think differently about it, but,
that hasn't been an issue at all.  One thing I might add is that
I like that our nanny has access to our car in case of
emergency.  I don't know what emergency I'm picturing, really,
but I like that driving is an option, if it's needed.
another first-time mama

When we first hired a nanny for our child, we didn't think twice
about having our nanny drive our son around. Then one of our
neighbors saw that she left him in the car when she went into
the grocery store. Her defense was that she left the windows
open and she only went in to get a couple of things. We fired
her immediately and then talked to a lot of other parents who
did not allow their nannies to drive. Our new nanny whom we've
had for the past 2 years is wonderful and doesn't drive our son.
She's very creative and they find fun things to do in our El
Cerrito neighborhood (looking at the dogs getting groomed at the
local Petco, watching people bike/run/rollerblade on the path,
going to the library for storytime). I'm always amazed at the
joy and wonder he has in watching these everyday things. He
can't stop talking about all the things they do.
When making this decision, you should think about these things:
1) Is this benefitting your child or the nanny? If she wants to
get together with other nanny friends, will your child get more
or less attention from your nanny?
2) Will she be doing her own personal errands? How do you feel
about that? Will you be paying her the same when she's on her
own errands? How will this benefit your baby?
3) How much time each day will your baby be spending in the car?
This is time that is taken away from him walking around,
exploring with his hands.
4) Be sure your nanny isn't on the cell phone when she drives.
Talking on the cell phone is like driving while intoxicated,
people are just too distracted.
5) Consider that car accidents are the primary cause of injury
and death for infants.
6) Does her car and car seat meet your standards? (Is it used,
has it ever been in an accident before?)
Good luck!

I don't think you are being over-protective at all, coming from
a not-so-overprotective parent. At 10 months, area walks and
nearby parks should be plenty for your child. Developmentally,
thats all he needs anyway. I also think wanting him nearby is a
fine reason for you to want her to stick around your
neighborhood. After all he is a baby-- you are *supposed* to
feel attached to him and having him close even when you are not
the one with him is important, if it feels that way to you! You
can tell her you trust her and when *you* are ready for your
child to go further, then you'll let her drive. I didn't let my
sitters drive my son around regularly until he was about 2.5 (we
live right near Solano), and even then I always wanted to know
exactly where they'd be going and when they'd be back. If this
is the job your nanny agreed to do, being bored shouldn't be an

I'm also a self-described overprotective mother and I make no
apologies for the firm boundries I set with my childrens'
caregiver. We also live within walking distance of two parks and
my nanny is only with my children 2 days/week.  I believe that my
kids (ages 4 1/2 & 1) get plenty of creative stimulation from 
my husband and me during the week, so having two more subdued &
low-key days is just fine.  I've hired our nanny to keep my
children safe, fed, comforted and cared for in our home when
we're not there.  I'm not concerned about her social life or her
need to be out & about.  I made this clear when I hired her two
years ago and this arrangement has worked well for us. She may
very well think I'm nuts (other employers allow her to drive
their children places & don't require checking in or permission
to go out)  but she respects my wishes and makes good use of our
home & the neighborhood parks. I also ask my babysitter to call
me at work whenever they leave the house to go to the park or for
a walk & to call again when they're home.  Even after two years
of working with our current nanny, I still call home each
afternoon to check in.  My children are precious to me and
knowing where they are  & how their day is going  gives me piece
of mind while I'm away from them.  It's not about trusting my
nanny -- she's great and takes wonderful care of my children.  If
she didn't, I'd be looking for someone else.  It's about my need
for tighter boundries than most in order to feel comfortable with
our childcare arrangement.  Works for us.  Best of luck to you!

I can't advise you on your fears but I can tell you our policy. 
I was always open to have our very responsible nanny take our
son out on outings.  One, I think it is good for him to get out
and two) I Know I need to get out with him and I wanted it to be
a pleasant work environment where she could do some of the
things I did.  To this end, we joined the oakland zoo and
upgraded the membership so she could take our son too.  And I
also joined Habitot (more recently) as another thing.  My nanny
also takes our son to the library free song time, etc. and
drives to get to Totland.  I know she doesn't hang out much with
the other nannies but I think she still appreciates the change
in scenery.  I never worried about earthquake fears and my nanny
does have a cell phone.  I also drove numerous times with her
first so I knew she was a very safe driver.
Hope this helps
feeling like nannies need to get out too

I am also a first time mom of a 9 month old. Our nanny has been
with us full time for the last 5 months. We allow our nanny to
take the baby on outings but she is not allowed on the freeway
or to talk on her cell phone while she's driving. Issues that
we leave to her best judgement are: not disturbing the baby's
naps and does the baby seem up for an outing or does she seem
to want to be home/mellow. We established a few OK'd
destinations early on: College Avenue, Montclair shopping area,
the pool where we are members and the park in Piedmont (we live
in Crocker Highlands). If our nanny wants to go to other
places, she lets us know and gets our OK before hand. For
example, she has gone to the Berkeley Marina a few times, but
calls or IM's me at work to let me know that they're going.
Our situation may be slightly different in that our nanny is
with our baby full time, so for both of their sakes, I
encourage our nanny to get out of the house.
However, if you are at all uncomfortable, you should 100%
listen to your instincts. We interviewed and tried out several
nannies before we settled on our current nanny and there is no
way I would have let the other women take my baby in the car
(not due to age/experience, either - we ended up hiring the
youngest woman we met with).
In terms of payment, we pay for any fees and give our nanny $10
per week in gas money. If I am home and we all go on an outing
together, I also pay for lunch/snacks.
Good luck with your decision. There is no right answer here,
your comfort level while you are away from your baby should
drive your decision.

I think it is perfectly fine for you to feel the way you do. You have
right to ask that your baby stay close to home. That is what I did with
nanny. It wasn't a huge issue as she never approached me on the
subject. I just always told her I was only comfortable with walking
The reasons you have for concern are all valid.
First of all, I would try to think of it not so much as preventing your
from doing something your baby (and any mistrust that might be
perceived from that). Rather, try to pose it as how you would like the
baby to spend his day. You probably wouldn't send your son to a
preschool that took fieldtrips every day, so it makes sense to me that
would want  some more ''low-key'' days while he is a baby. Also, 10
months is still very much a baby, so I don't think there is all that
much he
will get out the trips that he can't get at your local playgrounds. My
daughter went to the same two playgrounds every day (4 day week)
until she was two. She loved it--played with other kids and explored
different things to do--but also had that routine of getting back home
lunch/nap, etc. Then, as you say, he can get the enrichment with you on
your days.
The flip side is maybe you are right, that your nanny would like to
up with other nanny friends. I woul find a tactful way to ask her this
see if they can't do things on her days that are walkable for her.
If you do let her go on driving trips, I would not hesitate to ask her
for her
plans for the day. In fact, if it was my child, I would ask her to call
when she returned back home. I can't imagine my baby being out
somewhere without at least knowing the location. Doing this might ease
some of your concerns.

Dear Feeling Defensive,
  I'm a nanny with a clean driving record and 12 years'
experience driving with my charges.  I recently held a position
in which I was not allowed to drive.  Maybe it would be helpful
for you to see the situation from a nanny's point of view, so
for what it's worth, here's my take on the issue.
  First of all, I too worked in a pedestrian-friendly
neighborhood and walked everywhere with the baby, but after a
few months I could barely stand the thought of going to the same
parks, walking along the same busy streets (a quiet walk up in
Tilden would've been a nice change) and basically doing the same
routine day in and day out.  I know it may seem that the baby
wouldn't mind the repetition, but truly, they like to look at
new people and places too, and they really do take it all in. 
Second, you say that you've told the nanny you trust her, but
what the nanny is most likely hearing is that in fact you don't
trust her.  If it is okay (and you feel it benefits the baby)
for you to take your child on ''fieldtrips'' then it stands to
reason that it should be okay for the nanny to do the same. 
Finally, I think you hit the nail on the head when you asked if
what is good for the nanny is good for the child.  If your nanny
is frustrated about being restricted as to where she can take
her charge, then she isn't happy; if she's unhappy, then she's
not giving all she can to your child.  Her understandable
boredom and frustration will probably affect your child's well-
  Maybe you could work out an agreement about how often your
nanny can take your child on bigger outings.  Perhaps, since you
mention she has a cell phone, she can call from her destination
to let you know they arrived safely (although be aware there's
no cell service in Tilden).  As to your concern about not
knowing where she is in the event of an earthquake: even if she
walked to a local park you might not be able to locate her, and
you have to make sure that she will know how to deal with such a
crisis, whether you can locate her or not. I would strongly
encourage you to work with your nanny on this issue and keep
communication open.  In order to do this challenging job well,
your nanny has to have your support and trust, as well as a
certain amount of autonomy. 
  My last bit of advice is this: try hard to really put yourself
in your nanny's shoes.  How would you feel about this if you
were her?  If you stayed home with your child but couldn't ever
drive him anywhere, would you stay sane and happy?
  I know this is a difficult issue for parents to deal with, and
I wish you the best of luck in coming to an agreement with your

I live in your area and have never felt the need, neither has my
nanny, to let her drive my kids around town. (We've had the same
nanny since my oldest was 2 months old) There is only person
that is benefitting from letting your nanny drive: your nanny.
If she's bored and wants to meet up with her friends, well,
maybe it's time for another nanny. You're not paying her to keep
her entertained, you hired her to take care of your child.
(Imagine if, at your job, you asked to be able to see a movie
everyday at lunchtime so you could hang out with your friends
and break up the monotony of your job.) If she feels she has to
cart your baby around town to keep herself entertained, you need
a new nanny! If you live in the Grandlake area, with so many
parks and the lake close by, there's absolutely no need to let
your nanny drive your baby. Also, don't you want to be the one
to take him on special outings, like to the beach, etc.? If you
really like your nanny, encourage her to be more creative and
find a network of nannies/babies in your own neighborhood. This
is great for young toddlers so they can make friends with other
kids in your own area.

If it would feel oppressive to you to have your husband hide the
car keys each morning, it will probably feel oppressive to your
Seven years ago, when my first baby was born and I needed to
return to work, I hired a nanny and she asked us if it would be
okay to occasionally go on outings in Berkeley with my son. We
loaned her our car so I knew that the car seat was properly
installed and at the end of the day she would give me a full
report on their adventures. She seemed happy and he adored her.
As a full-time SAHM with two, I occasionally make calls on the
cell phone while driving the kids around and don't consider it in
any way comparable to being intoxicated while behind the wheel. I
also enjoy being around other grownups while I'm with the kids so
we drive to playdates with other moms. And, yes, my children
often accompany me on errands that are purely for my benefit.
I worked as a nanny while I was in college and I can tell you
that if I felt valued/trusted, I wanted to do a really great job.
I think that is true of many employees no matter what they are doing.
Is it possible to lay down tons of rules and regulations and
expect your nanny to tow the line? Sure. You are the employer and
you get to make the rules but as a compassionate human being you
should consider how you will balance your need for control vs.
your nannys's ability to have an enjoyable experience with your
--been on both sides

Give nanny the car keys?

Aug 2005

Our nanny has asked whether she can take our 18-month-old
daughter on small trips in the car, to museums, Fairyland, etc.
(Currently, they only go to places within walking distance.)
She has been with us over 9 months and we love and trust her,
but before we agree to this we want to make sure we have
thought all the issues through. First, what?s the easiest way
to access someone?s driving record? Is she likely to have one
if she has been in this country less than 2 years (and would it
really tell us anything if she did have one)? Second, do
standard insurance policies cover her if there is a problem
while she is driving our car? Third, does it make more sense
for her to use our car (unfamiliar, but carseat already in
place) or hers? Last, what kinds of guidelines, etc., should we
set in place as her employer? For example, should we specify
where the car may be taken? Should we request that she run each
driving trip by us? If she gets, say, a parking ticket, should
we pay for it? Is there anything else we're not thinking of? We
would appreciate hearing from any and all parents on this
issue, both those whose caregivers do drive and those who have
decided not to allow driving.

As a long-time nanny and now nanny-employer, I felt drawn to your
Nannies have an incredibly isolating job, and I believe the high
burn-out rate is a result of that. Though walks with the stroller are
lovely, some nannies need more stimulation than the four walls of the
living room and the local park provide!
It can be a great thing to have an outing-savvy nanny. She may find new
parks and new special hang-outs for your child that will eventually
become a part of your world too. In one position, I brought my ''kids''
to a local cafe once a week to play checkers and drink a vanilla steamed
milk in the room with the comfy couches. They still talk about ''going
to the coffeeshop'' to this day (it was 9 years ago), as well as going
to see the jazz bands play in the Stanford commons area where I'd wheel
them around in the wagon (great fun). Obviously, your comfort level is
paramount, but I thought I'd give you some encouragement.
I ask my nanny to plan any trips ahead of time and let me know where she
wants to go that morning. You can check her driving record through DMV
(it should be totally clean) and add her on your insurance (some
companies automatically cover another driver, you should check with
yours). I think it's reasonable that you pay tickets if the child was
the reason for the delay in getting back (melt down, diaper change,
If she's willing to use her own reliable car it's less complicated to
get another car seat and leave it in there.

It was hard for me to let my nanny drive my child around, but I think it
is a good thing to do. For one thing, she can do errands for you which
is wonderful (and also teach your child how to behave in a store).  Both
she and your child will enjoy the extra mobility and that their world
gets wider!  I vote for having her use her own car - people are always
more comfortable driving their own cars, and it avoids insurance issues.
I gave my nanny an extra $20 per week for gas.  Get an extra car seat
for her to keep in her car if possible.  I didn't require my nanny to
get specific approval for every trip, but we did talk each morning about
where she planned to go generally (to the store, or to the zoo).  It was
understood she was not going to be leaving town!  As for parking
tickets, I would make sure that there is a jar of change she can access
for meter money and have it be understood that you expect her to park
legally. I don't think this is too much to ask. None of my nannies ever
got tickets; they were much better able to pay attention to (a) my child
(b) their watch (c) the parking meter than I was. I guess I would pay
the first ticket but let her know that the next one is her
responsibility.  You can ask your nanny to give you a copy of her
driving record with the DMV, although I've never done that, and you can
also have her drive you around.  One restriction you might consider is
no freeway driving.  One of my nannies refused to drive on the freeway
anyway so your nanny might be happy about that.  The only other thing I
can think of is that you ask her not to talk on the cellphone while
driving.  I think this is unsafe for anyone, personally.