We all know that no matter how much you trust or know a nanny, it’s always hard to hand over control of your kids to them. Whatever you decide your nanny’s job entails, it will probably include driving your children around. Whether its seatbelts, driving style or the general road worthiness of the vehicle, there are many things to worry about. Making sure the kids get from point A to point B will forever be a cause for concern.
We’ve put together a checklist to go over with new nannies before they get behind the wheel with your children.
1. Check the Vehicle
Many families provide their nanny with a dedicated car for them to use or let them drive one of the family’s cars on an as-needed basis. If that’s not practical for you, and your nanny needs to use her personal car, make sure you give it the once-over. Your kids will be riding in it and you want to make sure it’s safe.
Ask for the details of the latest safety inspection, check the car seats and that the booster seats fit comfortably and can be securely fastened — and that your nanny knows how to install them. Look at the tread on the tires — worn tires can lead to accidents, so make sure the tires are in good condition and properly inflated. Review the car for any other safety features that you would inspect when purchasing a car.
2. Make Background Checks
Although we all make mistakes or have become caught in speed traps, you’ll have more peace of mind if you hire a nanny with a clean driving record. If your potential nanny’s record is marred, take specifics into consideration. If it was 10 years ago when they were first learning to drive, it may not be a huge red flag. How many tickets or demerit points have they got on their license? Multiples might make you want to reconsider hiring them if they’ll be driving your kids.
When you check a nanny’s references, ask whether they drove the children? Were there ever any issues or concerns?
Read more in our Step by Step Guide to Hiring a Nanny »
3. Ask About Insurance
Regardless of whether your nanny is driving their car or yours, it’s necessary for them to be insured. If they are driving your car, ask your insurance company how you can add them to your policy. If they are driving their own car, ask for copies of their license and insurance and keep them up-to-date. Accidents happen. If they have a fender bender in the school parking lot, you don’t have to worry about having to cover it out of pocket.
4. Set The Driving Rules
Before your nanny gets behind the wheel, establish your driving rules. Detail how often she is expected to drive the children around. Do you want her to solely drive the kids to and from school or is she expected to chauffeur kids to activities and run errands?
5. Establish Gas and Mileage Reimbursement
Whether you want to reimburse your nanny for gas, make it part of their salary or have her cover the cost, you should both agree to the terms up front. Make sure everything is included in your nanny contract, so you can refer to the agreement if an issue arises. Detail how much is covered, including standard mileage charges, mileage amounts and any other concerns either of you have.
6. What’s the Alternative?
If you’re still hesitant about letting your nanny drive the kids around, reconsider whether or not you will let her do it at all. If she doesn’t have to drive anywhere, then don’t ask her to. People who live in walkable towns with abundant public transportation can consider this option, though it may not be a possibility for people who live in the suburbs or countryside.
In this case, limit activities to only walkable locations. Calculate how much taxis would cost on an occasional basis — it might be cheaper than adding up the cost of petrol and the insurance if it’s only infrequent.
If they have to transport your kids around, do a test drive to see their road habits for yourself. Or start by having them drive the kids around while you’re in the car with them.
Letting someone else take the reins once in a while takes a little courage. If you do your homework before hiring, and do a full screening of your applicants, you can relax and know your kids are in safe hands.
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