To Nannycam or Not to Nannycam? What to Know

By Kaitlin Hurtado on July 7, 2022

Hiring a caregiver for your children is putting a lot of trust in someone else. Whether your nanny is a trusted family friend or a stranger outsourced from a local company, some weariness about leaving someone else with your children is to be expected. One way parents deal with weariness is installing a nannycam to function as a second pair of eyes while they are away. However, as with any form of surveillance camera, there’s always the question of whether it’s the right choice to go with.

If you are considering using a nannycam with your caregiver, keep reading for what you should consider before landing on your final decision.

Photo: Pexels

Is it legal to install a nannycam? 

In all 50 states, it is legal for you to make a video-only recording of what is going on in your home. You don’t even have to tell your caregiver that you are using a nannycam either. However, your right to use a nannycam is waived if you use it for criminal behavior, such as blackmail or voyeurism. You should be using the camera for the sole purpose of monitoring the safety of your home and child.

While video-only recordings are more legally clear, audio recordings are handled a bit differently. In several states, it is illegal to record someone’s voice without their permission. Meaning, that in states like California, Florida, and Washington, you need to let your caregiver know you have installed a nannycam that records audio and video. To protect yourself, provide notice in written form and consider including it in your nanny contract. Make sure you are complying with local laws and if you are hesitant, consult professional help to avoid any legal woes.

Using a nannycam for child safety

The purpose of your nannycam is to ensure your child’s safety, meaning, there’s no reason to have it in a private space like a bathroom. Place your nannycam(s) in spaces your child is actually going to be in with your nanny, such as the child’s bedroom, playroom, and the living room.

If you have a live-in nanny, you should not put a nannycam in their personal living areas, like their personal bedrooms.

Should you let your caregiver know there’s a nannycam? 

If you do decide to go with a nannycam, the next big question is likely whether or not you are going to tell your nanny you are going to be using a camera. Many individuals will feel uncomfortable knowing that there is a camera watching them, leaving them to turn down the job opportunity. Others may feel more understanding of your reasoning that the nannycam is just for your peace of mind and your child’s safety. Caregivers know that there’s always the chance of a nannycam in the home they are working for in this digital age, and being honest with your nanny from the get-go will be appreciated.

A nannycam can be beneficial for your nanny. It can give them the comfort of knowing there is a second pair of eyes in the event of an emergency, or if it supplies the ability for two-way audio communication, they have another way to contact you in real-time. You and your nanny can relay any questions via the nannycam without having to use your phones as a middleman.

If you opt not to tell your nanny that you are using a nannycam, you run the risk of a more explosive reaction than you would get if you had been honest from the beginning. They may feel like there was a breach of trust and quit without real notice.

If you are questioning the use of a nannycam, explore your intentions. You should be using a nannycam as a preventative measure, not as a method of catching your nanny doing something wrong. If you already have the inkling your nanny is doing something wrong, they are likely not the right nanny for you.

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