Between school, playdates and activities, let’s face it – your nanny is likely driving your children around A LOT. Some families are able to provide a car for the nanny to shuttle the kiddos around in. More often, however, nannies are using their personal vehicles for these trips.
Check out these tips for parents (and nannies) before your nanny hits the road with the kids.
#1: DMV Records
I recently was helping a mother with her search for a nanny. I was happy to receive a message from her saying she had found a nanny, pending a background check!
Several days later, she let me know that they were continuing with their search ☹️
The nanny had passed the background check with no problems but this nanny position required the nanny to drive the children, so the mother had paid extra for a DMV record check. She found out that the nanny had multiple speeding tickets on her record and she wasn’t comfortable with this due to the amount of driving the position required.
It’s worthwhile to take the extra step of exploring your potential nanny’s DMV record to ensure you’re comfortable with her driving history, even if it costs a few dollars extra.
(Note: We will be launching our background check system very soon which include DMV records. Keep an eye on this page for more information.)
#2: Is a car seat required for transporting the kids?
There are many different car seats out there on the market. The best car seat out there won’t be helpful if it is installed or used incorrectly. A 2015 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 46% of all car seats are installed incorrectly. Additional findings included:
- 49% of rear-facing infant car seats were misused. The most frequent type of misuse was an incorrect amount of recline in the car seat.
- 61% of forward-facing car seats were misused. The most common type of misuse was installation that was too loose.
- 20% of booster seats were misused. The most common misuse was an improper lap belt position.
Spend some time with your nanny going over proper car seat installation and use. If you are uncertain about this yourself, or just want someone to double check, you can get free car seat checks here:
- The Safety Restraint Coalition: You can call at 1-800-BUCK-L-UP (800-282-5587) to make an appointment. More information about car seat safety on their website: http://www.800bucklup.org
- Sue Emery – The Car Seat Lady: Text Sue at (206) 619-2871 or send her an email by clicking here, for an appointment (her service is free of charge though she does accept tips). She is very responsive to text messages and dozens of our members have used her services!
- NHTSA: For more information on car seat safety: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/car-seats-and-booster-seats#inspection-inspection?q_State=&q_Zip=98115
Also, make sure your nanny knows not to buckle your kids in their car seats with a heavy winter coat on. The thickness of a coat does not allow the harness to be tightened adequately and the car seat won’t properly protect your child in the event of an accident.
Beginning January 1, 2020, several new car seat laws take effect. Click here to check out these new laws!
#3: Ready, set, WAIT!…
By providing a vehicle for your nanny to use, you can be assured the car is in good working condition and has all of the necessary safety features. If your provider is driving the family car on a regular basis, she needs to be added to your auto insurance policy as an occasional driver. Failing to do so is considered rate evasion and could be grounds for the insurance company refusing coverage in the event of a claim, or for cancellation of your policy. For more information, check out our library.
If the provider is using his/her own car, consider having a trusted mechanic inspect the provider’s car prior to her driving your children around. This will allow you to ensure that the car is well maintained, has passed a safety inspection, is equipped with airbags and has seat belts that work properly. Ask to look at the provider’s auto insurance policy and be sure he/she has adequate coverage. Is the policy valid and current? Is the policy in the provider’s name or someone else’s?
Nannies should confirm that their policy covers transporting children for work by speaking with their agent or insurance company. If not, additional coverage should be purchased. There will likely be a small increase to the insurance premium for ensuring there is appropriate coverage, and parents may consider covering or splitting the cost of increasing the policy coverage for work.
#4: Going for a test drive
When you hire your nanny, go on a test drive with your provider. This can serve several purposes. It can give you the opportunity to show your nanny around to locations she will be driving your children to. It can also give you insight to what kind of a driver he or she may be.
Some parents have an easier time with their new nanny driving their children than others do. If you need extra assurance about your nanny’s driving, you could consider paying for your provider to take a defensive driving or advanced driver training course. These can be found by checking with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by calling your insurance agent.
As you become more comfortable with your new nanny driving the kids around, you could have her begin with short trips. This may also be helpful to your nanny as she becomes more familiar with your neighborhood and the kids’ routines.
#5: Distracted Driving
It goes without saying that you expect that your nanny will abide by the laws when she is driving while working, but it’s still worth having a conversation about. Discuss expectations about things like following speed limits and not texting while driving.
Offer to buy a hands-free cell phone mount for your nanny’s car as a nice gesture if she doesn’t already have one! There are countless options on Amazon.com that won’t break the bank. My husband and I both have these installed in our vehicles and they work great – only $9 for two of them.
#6: Don’t forget about reimbursing your provider for mileage!
If your provider is transporting your children in their own personal vehicle, it is recommended (though not required by law) that you reimburse your provider for mileage. Mileage reimbursement income is not traditionally considered taxable except for any amounts that exceed the standard IRS rate (57.5 cents per mile in 2020, which covers gas and normal wear and tear on the car). You may choose to not reimburse for mileage so long as their expenses for driving their own car do not bring wages below minimum wage.
Reimbursing for mileage is a nice thing to offer and can go a long way in making your nanny feel well cared for!
There are some helpful apps out there for tracking and reimbursing for mileage. These include MileIQ, TripLog, Mileage Expense Log, and Stride Drive (Bonus – this app can be used to track expenses for reimbursement too!)
One of the best suggestions I’ve seen came from nanny Hannah in our Facebook community:
“My bosses reimbursed me for the MileIQ app. It automatically tracks trips and uses the federal rate. I then send them a Venmo request at the end of each month. This works great for us.”
Hopefully these six tips help to ensure you and your nanny have the best possible experience working together when driving the kiddos around is involved!