Happy (almost) summer everyone!
I just published my latest video blog, “Six Tips For When Your Nanny Is Driving The Kids” and I wanted to ensure you didn’t miss it!
Many parents have questions about whether or not their nanny should drive their kids and what steps to take to ensure everyone is safe.
In this video, I cover:
- how to make sure the vehicle your nanny will be driving is mechanically safe
- how to handle changing your insurance policy
- the importance of a “test drive”
- reimbursing for miles driven
Scroll down and click on the video to check out my top tips for when the nanny is driving the kids!
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A transcript of the video is below:
“Hi everyone, it’s Laura from Nanny Parent Connection here.
Today my topic for you is six tips you want to think about if your nanny is going to be driving your kids around.
Between trips to school, playdates, or activities, let’s face it, your nannies are probably driving your kids around quite a bit. Whether or not the nanny is using your vehicle or their own vehicle, you want to make sure you’re thinking about six important tips before they get in the driver seat and begin transporting your kids around.
Tip #1: Make sure they have a clean driving record
You want to make sure that the background check that you’re running on your nanny includes the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) report. You’re going to want to look into that and make sure that they have a safe driving record.
Maybe a speeding ticket five years ago isn’t a big deal, but if they have a pattern of using their cell phone while driving and getting caught with that or say, having many speeding tickets, maybe you’re not so comfortable with them driving your children.
I was speaking with a mother recently and she had hired a nanny pending a clear background check. The background check came back clear but the mom had paid extra for a DMV report. That came back separately after the background check and there were some concerning things on the report for the mom so she had to restart her nanny search because she was not comfortable with what that DMV report had shown. It is worth noting that Nanny Parent Connection offers background checks that include a DMV report because we feel that somebody shouldn’t have to pay more to go the extra mile and be very very comprehensive when checking out a nanny’s background. Make sure the background check that you are using to check out your nanny includes that DMV report. You can check out our background checks by clicking here.
Tip #2: Are car seats going to be necessary for transporting the kids?
We know that car seats come in many different shapes and sizes and a lot of them can be kind of confusing as far as installation goes.
Many nannies are going to want to be either shown how to install the car seats by the parents. It’s worth noting that sometimes parents aren’t even installing the car seats properly.
You’re going to want to make sure that you’re following the manual and instructions for car seat installation, and if you’re unsure of how to do that, there are a lot of people you can hire who can come and show you exactly how to install that car seat. If you’re unsure if your nanny’s car can accommodate certain car seats, is definitely worth taking a look at their car first to see if they can accommodate the car seats you already have, or if a special kind of car seat is needed for your nanny’s car, say an extra slim model for example!
There was a recent study by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration that showed that nearly half of all car seats were installed incorrectly. The most frequent kind of incorrect car seat installation was the wrong amount of recline in a car seat. There are little leveling bubbles and you have to make sure that those are all accurately installed and level so that you know that the child is safe inside that car seat.
Booster seats are pretty straightforward. It’s really important that the lap belt comes across the child in the proper position as well as the shoulder belt. There are some tips and tricks you’re going to want to find out from somebody if you’re bringing a consultant in or refer back to the manual, which is usually pretty good about having a diagram so that you can refer to those when you’re installing the car seat, or when your nanny is installing the car seats.
Tip #3: Check if the car is in good working order
You going to want to make sure that the car that’s being used to drive your kids around is in good working order. If that’s your regular family car, it’s probably mechanically sound. If it’s the car that you don’t use regularly for your family, you might want to get that checked out and just make sure you know the tires have the correct pressure, change the oil, and just make sure it’s in good working order overall, and if you’re not sure, maybe get that checked out by a mechanic.
If your nanny is going to be using their own car, I’ve heard some families want to get that car checked out by a mechanic or just otherwise, be assured that their car is safe and in good working order. Sometimes that means if the families are mechanically inclined, they take a peek at it. Just have a conversation with your nanny. If it’s a newer car, it’s probably pretty safe to assume that it’s in good mechanical order.
It’s also worth mentioning that if your nanny is going to be driving your family’s car, you should probably talk to your insurance agent about adding them to your family policy. For example, if there is an accident, it’s going to be important that a nanny is added because if she is a regular driver of your vehicle and they do have an accident, if the insurance company is not aware that there are regular driver, there could be some issues there. Just double-check and make sure everything’s good with a nanny driving your car regularly and make sure if you need to bolster your insurance. Just have a conversation with your insurance agent and make sure everything is good to go for another regular driver to be added to your policy.
It’s also worth mentioning that if a nanny is going to be using their own vehicle, they should probably speak to their insurance agent and just make sure there is nothing additional that they should do. Sometimes insurance companies will want the nanny to be bolstering their insurance policies or they recommend that of course, they don’t require it. With the additional responsibility of driving nanny kids around, maybe you want to bolster your policy for certain coverages. Just check with your agent and make sure that you know as a nanny or keeping yourself safe as well. I’ve heard of some families kicking in for any additional coverages, so if you’re a nanny and there are some recommendations for increases in your insurance policies and it’s kind of above and beyond since you will be driving in any kids around, check with your nanny family and see if they will cover the difference.
Tip #4: Go for a test drive
If your nanny is going to be driving your kids around, go for a test drive. Some families are more comfortable with a nanny driving their kids around than others. For some families I know it takes maybe having the nanny work in their home and kind of gaining that trust with their nanny for several months before they’re comfortable with driving their kids around in the car. Sometimes all it takes is a clean DMV record, but some families like to go for a test drive!
I know sometimes that can be stressful to put your nanny on the spot and ask them to go on a test drive. You have a new nanny-family relationship, but it doesn’t need to be stressful. It can be as simple as like “hey, let’s all go out for ice cream” or “Let’s make sure you can install the car seat in your car correctly”. This is paid time, we want to make sure that you feel safe driving kids and you know you feel safe installing the car seats correctly. Going for a test drive can be a great way to increase trust in knowing that your nanny is going to be capable and comfortable driving the kids around in the car and more importantly, that you were also going to gain a layer of comfort with a nanny driving kids around as well.
With a newer nanny, one thing you can also do is shorter trips, so maybe have the nanny do some trips that are closer to home. As your nanny gets more comfortable with your family and you get more comfortable with the idea of the newer nanny driving your children around, then definitely extend the trips saying, “It’s OK to go a little bit further out, but for the time being, keep the trips closer to home”. Have a conversation with their nanny and just say, “Hey as we’re all getting comfortable with one another we prefer just kind of keeping it within maybe a 5 to 10 mile drive of home.”
Tip #5: Have a conversation about distracted driving
When your nanny is going to be driving your kids around in the car, have a conversation about distracted driving.
We all know that most states have laws about distracted driving, but it’s still worth mentioning and having that conversation with your care provider just to make sure that expectations are really clear. If a phone call must be made, or if a text must be sent, please make sure that your nanny will pull over and do so safely while the car is parked. And also, especially if there are any teens in the car that we’re setting a good example by being a good role model because they’re watching us. We want to make sure that they are watching us do things the right way. Make sure you also take note of how you expect driving to happen in the contract. Make sure you mention no use of cell phones while driving in the car. You want to just take any guesswork out of this one because it can get awkward and it can become a thing later. Just lay the groundwork in advance. Have those conversations and set clear expectations so that there’s no confusion on this topic.
Tip #6: Reimburse for the miles driven (only applicable if the nanny using their own vehicle)
If a nanny is driving your kids around and they are using their own vehicle. Make sure you reimburse your nanny for the miles driven. By reimburse I mean, check out the IRS recommended reimbursement rate for mileage. The IRS sets this rate every year and it changes. It went down for 2021. The rate this year is $0.56 for each mile driven. This could be tracked with an app. This could be trapped with a pad of paper and a pencil however you choose to do it. If you track it, just make sure you reimburse $0.56 per mile this year and make sure you check and see if that rate changes for the next year. It might seem like a wash, they’re not driving that much, but believe me, it does add up. This doesn’t count for when you know they’re commuting to or from work or anything like that, just for any driving done on the job in their car. Whether or not they’re driving the nanny kids around or running an errand for shopping or something like that. Make sure that you are reimbursing your nanny for any miles driven in their own car while they’re on the job. It goes a long way to make your nanny feel well cared for and they will definitely return the favor by working hard while they’re care for your children.
All right, that’s it for my six tips to consider and think about while your nanny is driving kids around while on the job. I hope you all found this helpful.”