What do Host Parents think about Nanny Cams?: Au Pair Asks

by cv harquail on May 8, 2013

It’s been a long time since we had our last conversation about Nanny Cams.

We’ve had a couple of suggestions for a post about them, but I have always resisted.   Only about 15% of host parent readers who took our poll back then reported that they even considered using a nanny cam.

kid spy

Personally, I really dislike the idea of a nanny cam, and think that if you’re considering using one, you’re better off rematching with an au pair you trust.

That said, a German au pair emailed asking that we address the topic:

Recently on a moderated au pair group we had a discussion about nanny cams. It seems to be that German au pairs sign in their contract that it is okay and that some states require the host parents to have permission and others don’t.  I’d be really interested in what Host Parents think about nanny cams these days– whether people have them, why they have them, where they have them and if they disclose this to their au pairs.

~ HarrietAP

Have any of you host parents changed you minds about using a nanny cam?

Anyone who swore they wouldn’t, and then did?

Personally, I’d rather have a kiddie cam, so that I could watch my adorbs kids all. day. long.  But the school doesn’t allow that. sigh.



Image: Junior DetectiveAttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by theloushe



Noga May 8, 2013 at 8:27 am

Is this a joke? Are there really states in the US where “nanny cam`s” are allowed? I would never agree to work for such a family.

Emerald City HM May 8, 2013 at 10:10 am

I ‘believe’ nanny cams are legal in all states. However ones with audio recordings are not legal in 11 states.

Hayley May 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Noga – why be concerned about a Nanny Cam if there’s nothing to hide?

HRHM May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am


In the US, a person is well within their rights to use video surveillance/monitoring on their own property whenever they want to. In the case of audio monitoring, their are some states where at least one party in the conversation must be aware of the recording in order for it to be legal. So in those states, if the Host Child is aware that they are being recorded, then those interactions would be legal to record as well.

FWIW, most family’s who would be using a nanny cam wouldn’t be telling or asking you if it was ok. :) They’d be doing it without notice.

Momma Gadget May 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

We had nannies for many years before switching over to the au pair program. It is pretty much a moot point now, since my children are older and have some major tattletale tendencies to begin with;but
I have always maintained that if we felt the need to install a nanny cam to keep an eye on one of our caregivers, then that person did not belong in our home.

Host Mom in the City May 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

Agreed, if I was at the point where I was considering installing a nanny cam, it would just tell me I need to rematch. Also, I pretty much have a nanny cam with my big-mouthed 6 year old ;)

I also don’t really get how they work – if you really wanted to see everything, wouldn’t you have to have nanny cams all over the place? My au pair and my kids don’t spend most of their time in the living room – they’re at the park or at the library or driving around or whatever. A playroom nanny cam would catch such a miniscule amount of time.

I also can’t imagine how devastated I would personally feel if I was working for someone and found out they were secretly monitoring me on camera the whole time. That would be really invasive.

Emerald City HM May 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

I will admit my husband and I have talked about it. Particularly when we saw behaviors from our au pair (that kind of demonstrated a lack of common sense and/or childecare experience) when we stayed at home we addressed those issues and then wondered what happens when we aren’t there. We also have children that are too young to tell us what goes on.

Ultimately we chose not to.

If we do install something in the future it would be more about being able to view the house and property while on vacation or something and we would tell any caregivers.

Lil Java HM May 8, 2013 at 10:35 am

@Emerald City HM, I agree. My kids are too young to really tell us. My hubby and I have considered it in the past because my sons behavior really changed for the worse with one of our APs. We tried to address it the best we could, but it did not improve. We were close to the end our term with our AP and we just stuck it out. Since our new AP came, our sons behavior changed back to his old self and we are so happy.

We ultimately decided against the cameras, but we have considered them for security purposes. Especially, it would make me feel more safe when hubby or I travel for business.

MonkeyMom May 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

I agree that if I had concerns about trusting my au pair I would likely be having discussions with my husband about rematch rather than nanny cams. Especially if my kids were too young to share information with me.

My kids are also now old enough they can tell me things. Even when my daughter was 3 she was able to tell me when after nap she watched tv in the au pair’s room while she slept. That led to a reminder to our au pair that she can’t sleep while working, even if the kids are asleep. Some people may think this incident would be a big red flag, but we actually really liked this au pair. She just needed a kick in the butt occasionally and I never was worried about our kid’s safety. If this was a pattern we would have gone down the rematch route rather than the nanny cam.

Should be working May 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

My kids are big and tattlers, so not an issue for me. But with little ones I would be more likely to want to RENT a nanny cam for a few days if I felt a little nervous about my childcare. It would be more about assuring myself that all is well. If I felt more than a little nervous it would be a cue to consider rematching. Honestly I don’t think it’s so bad, although I see why APs would object.

Old China Hand May 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

We have a security camera that is repurposed as a baby monitor so we can keep track our son’s sleeping. Our AP really wanted it because she was having trouble leaving him in his room to sleep if she didn’t know he was ok. It is set up so that we can log in to see him from outside the house, so my mom and my grandma like to watch him. Our AP knows we can do this and that we all respect her privacy so we only watch him when it is nap time (or bedtime) and she isn’t there with him. She said she just doesn’t want men watching it in case she is wearing just a tank top. I have felt uncomfortable at times with it when my sister texts me to comment on my clothes. :) But the video monitor is worth it for our son to sleep better. It has a nanny cam feature but we told our AP that we won’t use it.

spanishaupair May 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

But in your case i think is used in a great way and helpfull for everybody, specially if you keep not looking at your aupair :)

Host Mom X May 8, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Like most of the others who have posted so far, I don’t like the idea of a nanny cam, and also don’t think it would be a very practical way of catching worrisome behaviors anyway, unless they are installed in literally every room of the house, and on the stroller or something.

I also don’t like being put in the position of being a spy; if I felt the need for nanny cam, I’d address the behaviors I was worried about up front, and talk about rematch if I was so unsure of an au pair’s trustworthiness.

With our first rematch, I DID do a bit of spy work to confirm my suspicions – because I thought it would only be fair not to just ask for rematch based on unconfirmed assumptions – but the lesson we learned from that rematch experience was that we never should have waited that long to consider rematch with so many things that troubled us.

Some spying activities included
(1) calling up places the AP should have been with the kids, e.g. the library, and finding out that the AP had never been there;
(2) talking to our former nanny who still worked in the neighborhood and could observe the AP’s behavior in the park;
(3) checking up on phone-use activity and finding an extraordinary amount of texting and long phone conversations during times when the AP should have been out and about with the kids, i.e. not during naptimes; and
(4) checking the channel/tv settings when we came home each day.

I don’t think a nanny cam could have caught any of these behaviors, except for maybe seeing some phone use while ignoring kids, or excessive tv use. Now reading this I sound like a horrible spying person, and I hate that! Which goes to show that if you think you need a nanny cam or to otherwise spy, you are already way past the point at which you should have addressed the problem head-on with conversation, and rematch if that did not work.

CA Host Mom May 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I am in agreement with most others here — If I ever actually felt the need for a “nanny cam” it would be a huge indicator that the match is not working out. If I can’t trust our AP in our home with our kids while we are away, then we are not a good match.

And I too did some spying (as Host Mom X described above in #3) when we knew that our AP (who was responsible for an infant and 2 y/o at the time) was spending too much time on the internet, phone and texting while on duty. She was also obviously lying about several other things which caused us to wonder what else she might be dishonest about. I honestly don’t regret (or feel guilty about) checking in on the phone usage logs, and mention in our handbook that we have the ability to do it if needed.

I, of course, hope that my interviewing skills are good enough to weed out candidates that would require this level of monitoring, but if there is any question – a statement in the handbook clears the point up and lets them know that we aren’t oblivious and we do check when necessary.

Host Mom X May 8, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Since that was our first AP, we didn’t even THINK to put a warning in our handbook that we could check up on phone usage. I think I will do that now, to be transparent. Though the first time that AP caused huge overage charges with texting and then denied that she texted more than once or twice a day, I looked at the usage, and then confronted her with the usage log and explained that I could verify her usage quite easily, and that I could see exactly what time and to whom the text message were made – and that there were way too many during non-nap working hours (also with an infant and two year old), and that she had indeed caused the overage charges for many many non-work-related texted. After that she STILL kept texting excessively during working hours, and amazingly kept denying it, even though at this point she knew I was getting my info from the online usage logs. She was from one of the cultures in which others on this board have pointed out that “white lies” to “save face” are considered de rigueur…still having trouble excusing that as “cultural” though.

And I too don’t feel guilty that I “spied” in this way. But we should never have let the match progress that far in the first place. Live and learn.

monica July 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I think if you already at the point where you even feel the need to call up random places to check if your AP is there it’s already time to rematch.
Bc the things you listet as spy activities sound to me as a former aupair worse than any nanny cam.
I don’ t mean to offend you but I’m just saying that this must have been a horrible situation for you but for the AP as well.
And I would rather go to rematch than to find out my HF controlled me.

CA Host Mom July 17, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Are you serious?

The items that HostMomX list (items 1-4 in her comment above) sound WORSE to you than any nanny cam??? Did you mean to say that?

I think I read in a previous comment (pardon me if I am mistaken) that you were an AP and are now a wife. Are you also a mother? Do you have children? If someone you charged with the safe-keeping of your children lied to you about where they took them, would you truly NOT feel the need to check up on what you were being told?

Honestly, IMO, HostMomX was quite generous in her attempt to confirm her assumptions rather than just dismissing the AP on the spot when she learned of the first outright lie.

An uncomfortable (‘horrible’, as you put it) situation for everyone involved, that is true. But the AP became at fault for that when she chose to start telling lies.

Skny May 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I don’t have one but must say I have considered. From my old time as an au pair, I remember au pairs who did in a mild way abuse their children (ie spanking, yelling, etc).
My kids are 1 and 3 and my 3yo is very sensitive and shy. The type of child might blame herself for a spanking, etc and never tell me.
I trust my current au pair but worry about bringing a new person to our house. I have even debated going back to day care, but would loose the language (as my au pairs only speak in my native language with the kids).

Twin+1Mamma May 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Totally off topic but what is your native language? I am 100 % American but my husband is Russian and we want the kids to speak Russian. When we had our daughter, we put her in day care and specifically looked for ‘Russian’ day cares. They spoke Russian all day long and we loved it but when we had the twins, we decided that in-home care was better for us.
Now we have a Danish au pair (we weren’t looking for a specific country) since my husband refused to have a Russian living in his home (don’t ask me why)
Just a little piece of advice. You might be able to find what you are looking for!

Skny May 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Mine is Portuguese. I initially spoke with my kids In Portuguese only but I then adopted my teen from Ukraine (she speaks fluent Russian and Ukrainian by the way) and for bonding sake I stopped Portuguese speaking. My whole family lives in my home country (which we go to once a year) and none of them speaks any English. Full extended family with grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, etc… So I really want them to speak it.
Our au pair only speaks Portuguese to the kids and it has been working…

German Au-Pair May 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I was the one who asked that question. Thanks for posting!
As I said, we recently discussed this in an au pair group and there were quite a few au pairs who know people with nanny cams or work with nanny cams themselves.
The most shocking story was a girl who had nanny cams in EVERY room in the house except the bathrooms -meaning her room, too!
I’m glad to see that most host parents seem to agree that a nanny cam is not a good idea.

CA Host Mom May 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Wow. How in the world could this AP tolerate a camera in her room? That makes no sense to me. It’s actually really hard to believe …

Regarding the APs that do work for families that have these cameras set up – are they in the US? Or other countries?

Emerald City HM May 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I’m not sure that having a camera in the au pair’s bedroom is legal and I do know it does most definitely violate the AuPairCare host family agreement. We are not allowed to put nanny cams where an au pair can expect reasonable privacy (her bedroom and bathrooms). These are places where she is getting naked. This seems like a really big no-no.

CAmom22 May 8, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Is she sure these are nanny cams? That just seems too crazy to believe (that there is a nanny cam in her room). Our house has a fully wired alarm system and there are motion sensors all over the place (never occurred to me to mention to my APs that these are not cameras but now that I think about it I could see how someone might think they are!!!). I cannot imagine that any family would have been allowed into the au pair program if it were known it had a nanny cam in the AP’s room.

German Au-Pair May 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm

It seemed unbelievable to me too, but this was not a discussion where anyone would vent and just exaggerate in the process so I’m inclined to believe it. There are crazy families out there. I know a family that has the au pair live in a small wooden “room” built IN the garage. I would not believe that easier if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

I’m not sure though, if that au pair left after she found out. There was definitely one au pair in that group who knew that there were cams in the house (not in her room) and was okay with that.

I have cams May 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

I have cams at home, purely for security reasons. AP knows about it and is OK with it. I made sure to tell her before we matched. I also explained why and where.

PhillyMom May 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have cameras in kids room, kitchen and living room. They were installed because I had live-in nannies, kids were little, non-verbal at the time and there was a big case in NY where nanny beat up 8 months old for not eating while his mother watched it on the camera while taking 2 year old for a dance lesson. This video remains on YouTube, I can provide a link if needed. My kids are very verbal now and rat pretty much on everyone, so there is no need for camera. I think it is completely inappropriate to install it inside nanny or Au Pair bedroom and should be considered violation of privacy.

Momma Gadget May 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

“I know a family that has the au pair live in a small wooden “room” built IN the garage.” ????? How in the heck could anyone do that to someone ….and get away with it?!!!! I hope that AP has rematched!!

With Nanny cams… how do parents who have them find time to review the tapes? or do you just review them when you feel suspicious?

FourTimeTexasHostMom May 8, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I’ve never been tempted to even have a nanny cam at all. A front door security cam to see when people come in and out would be the only device I might consider.

Angie host mom May 8, 2013 at 10:56 pm

We don’t have a nanny cam, never have really considered it. But we certainly have “spied” on our au pairs, arriving unexpectedly, driving by places they are with the children to see how they act when we aren’t there, asking friends to check up on them at various places, reviewing phone records to see how much phone activity while working is going on, not because we think there is a problem but just to be more comfortable. To me, it seems like a normal thing every host parent would do…trust but verify? Generally only early in the au pair year.

I wouldn’t hesitate to get a nanny cam on a temporary basis if I thought I needed to find out what was happening when I wasn’t there and I didn’t want to upset anyone. I’d put it in, review tapes of a few days, then take it out. I don’t think anyone who is working for anyone else should really expect privacy in their workplace. Every boss I ever had could get into my email or see my computer records if required. I assumed every office I ever worked in was video’d. Maybe it’s my banking background but it feels normal.

Angie host mom May 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Reading the comments of others, I really don’t get how people wouldn’t work for someone who video’d them while working. What are you doing that you don’t want them to see? People who work in any public place are watched all day – people who work on the phone are recorded constantly – it’s a job and an employer has a right to check up on your performance. You can make the case that an au pair is different and I buy it, but saying you’d never work for someone who video recorded your work seems bizarre to me.

German Au-Pair May 8, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I’m not saying NEVER…if people were upfront with me and the family was otherwise perfect, I’d consider. If I found out later I’d rematch right away.
For me it’s not so much the work-part than the living part. Where I come from, we don’t have any cameras in schools or daycares so I have never worked anywhere where there were cams.
But the issue for me would be that I feel like I’m being watched at the place I LIVE. I wouldn’t mind cameras in the playroom or the children’s bedrooms (if I knew about them) but I would mind cameras in general living areas that I use, too. I am aware that’s impossible for HP to watch the entire tape every day but I would generally feel uncomfortable.

Used2BAP May 10, 2013 at 2:49 am

I don’t know the specifics of the law in the US, but at least where I live the employer/store/house that has cameras recording people are required by law to either tell it or have stickers etc. informing people about being on camera.

So no, I have no problem being taped while on duty in an office or watching kids as an au pair, but I’d be extremely offended if I found out about it on my own instead of HP telling me about it.

City of Roses Mama January 9, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I love the “trust but verify” comment! I have to admit, I have a completely different take than most moms on this site. I think they are perfectly acceptable. I do NOT believe they should be in areas where it will invade personal privacy, such as a bathroom or AP’s bedroom. However, I am the mother of 3 small children who cannot tell me whether our AP is doing things she shouldn’t be.

I do pop in unexpected, and have addressed the issues we’ve had, however, we suspect there is more going on.

Let me say this… we adore our AP. As a person, she is lovely and fun to be around. She’s become part of our family. As an employee – well, that’s entirely a different matter. We do have safety concerns on how she cares for our baby. We have concerns on what is really going on when we’re not there. We think we know, and we have ideas but we don’t really know.

We are now going to install a few nannycams. We HAVE to know, for the safety of our children. You might say, “well if you’re at that point, it’s time for rematch”. I think people throw out rematch WAY too much. In fact, most of our AP’s friends she met in academy rematched. She’s one of the few that didn’t. Some have rematched 3 times already. I think that’s very hard on everyone and only necessary if there are serious conflict issues or a major concern.

We’re just not at that point yet… like I said, we don’t really know for sure… until we install the cameras. What if we’re wrong? What if she’s not doing the “bad” things we suspect?? Then we’d be horrible to accuse her and request rematch. She’s ultimately my employee, although we treat her like family which is tough when it comes to performance issues. As such, I do respect her, however my children’s safety is my primary concern.

I do not want to go down the lines of making accusations on a specific behavior unless I know it to be true. I suspect it is true and as such, made generalized statements in hopes it would correct the behavior, or non-threatening comments about it. But I really need to know, and I feel I have a right to know, what is actually going on in my home, with my children. There are no other eyes watching her, no accountability to anyone during the day. Much like many employers hold their employees accountable for their behavior by monitoring their emails, internet use, phones, and by using video, we will be using video in the same way.

If we have no concerns, they’ll be taken down (unless I get addicted to watching my adorable kids all day). However, if there are issues, we’ll address them and see if they resolve. If she’s not doing anything questionable during her work ours there should be no issue with transparancy.

Iconfess/Ihaveanannycam May 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I read this query and comments with interest, because we have a kiddie cam/nanny cam. Ours is located in our living room, and you can also view the kitchen area on the camera. The camera is out in the open, and only my husband and I have access to view it (from our smart phones, ipad and any computer with internet access). We love it.

The primary reason we got the camera is because I work long hours, and often go two or three days without seeing my children during waking hours. My husband often travels for work. Having the camera gave us comfort because we can see that our children are happy. When I have 10 minutes to spare while on a call or eating lunch, I can “view” what a little of their day is like. We can see funny interactions between the kids, and I absolutely love watching their impromtu dance parties.

But yes. We have used the camera to see how our au pair interacts with the children. Our au pair has always known about the camera. For the most part, our au pair is loving, and wonderful. But she is young, and inexperienced with young children, and on a few occasions she has gotten exasperated (who doesn’t!) and lost her cool. We were able to talk through these situations with her, and give her suggestions and tips on how to manage the kids, because we could go back and watch the situation with her, and discuss it. My feeling is that so long as the camera is in a public place, and the au pair knows about it, an au pair shouldn’t have a problem with it — unless she has something she wants to hide.

PhillyMom May 9, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Iconfess/Ihaveanannycam, I completely agree with you. My cameras are visible to AuPair and I personally do not see a problem to work while cameras are on if you have nothing to hide. I work 12 hour shifts knowing that I am being watched and that does not bother me a bit. I am not doing anything illegal and do my job really well:))). Those cameras helped me to catch a nanny who watched TV for 3 hours while my then 2 year olds where left alone in playpen….Here is one video, thank God not from my family


Skny May 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Would you mind telling which can will allow you I watch on iPhone? I am actually having a situation where my 3 will come sobbing saying my 16yo hit her, and my 16yo will look with the most innocent face ever and swear she didnt. I sooo wish I had a camera at those times!!

LookingFowardToBeAP June 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I must say: excellent way of dealing with that.
Not many people can accept that HUMAN adults can sometimes explode (specially with one’s children) and that doesnt mean they r bad people (unless of course we are talking of being violent or abusive)

Seattle Mom May 9, 2013 at 8:18 pm

A nanny cam has never occurred to me, and it just doesn’t seem necessary. When I had a bad au pair I knew it- I could see the way she interacted with the children before my eyes, and I didn’t need to see how she was when I wasn’t there as confirmation. My other au pairs have been great- I see that they love the children and do their best to take care of them. They might sometimes cut corners or do things differently than I would, but I trust them and my intuition that all is well in their relationship with my children.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 9, 2013 at 10:43 pm

I have never felt like I needed a nanny cam. Even the APs with whom I have had a rough time have taken good care of The Camel. Child #2 doesn’t tolerate hitting and has a tough time dealing with a rough voice. He does really well with our soft-spoken APs, who can get him to do stuff I can’t.

I have done impromptu arrivals, which have led to several, “I’m not paying you to socialize with your friends and ignore my children…”, “I’m not paying you to study…” conversations over the years, but mostly it’s been really good.

I will say that I think hosting Extraordinnnaires (worth every penny, believe me) has made a huge difference in my attitude. Because they have experience working their attitude toward “free time” is different. 2 out of 3 of my regular APs should have been extraordinnaires (now having hosted an AP for whom “having a job” has been a tough experience but is rising to the occasion because we are working really hard to treat her the same as her 7 predecessors).

We recently went through the search process, and the match came down to 2 women, one fresh out of high school with significant babysitting experience with special needs children and one who had done an ausbildung (2 years) which required her to have practical experience with children similar to The Camel. We chose the AP with more experience, knowing that she wouldn’t chafe at the occasional weekend (because she’s working them already), but we would have lived well with either.

Aupair09 May 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

This might be a cultural thing, but I’m not sure I could work for a family who has a nanny cam, but I would certainly be offended if someone videotaped me without telling me about it! Like some of you said this seems to be a common thing in workplaces in the US, which is why it feels normal for you. But this is not the case in every country! Where I come from cameras in the workplace is not something common at all, it is actually only legal with specific restrictions – only in public areas/public services like a bank and there needs to be a safety issue as a reason for videotaping. Even if this is the case it is only allowed for a limited time! So we do not have cameras in schools or kindergartens! There has actually been a lot on the news the last months, because there have been places (like stores) who videotaped their employees (to spy on them) without telling them, which is (where I come from) an invasion of privacy and illegal! Not all of your aupairs know about every law in the US, so if this is illegal in their country they might not think this could be legal and totally common in the US. Which is why, if they find out afterwards, they could possibly be very offended!

The reason I’m not sure I’d want to work for a family with nanny cams has nothing to do with hiding anything, but for me it’s mostly the trust issue that would bother me. My hostmum used to work from home at least once a week and while working 2-3 weekends a month my hostparents walked in and out of the house all day. I couldn’t have cared less, because I didn’t have to hide anything. And I do get why you as hostparents would check the phone usage and check in on your aupair during your first weeks together – after all you are trusting us with the most important “part” of your life! As an aupair that is a HUGE responsibility and you as hostparents have to place all your trust in your aupair (and I know not every parent is able to do that and for that reason can’t imagine having an aupair/nanny). Which is way I 100% agree with others who have said, if you feel like you need a nanny cam, it might be time to rematch!
For me trust is the foundation for every relationship in life and I would feel very uncomfortable working with someone who is not trusting me, especially when working with kids!

Like I said this is probably just a cultural thing, but you might want to consider this when using a nanny cam and NOT telling your aupairs about it. I’m sure there are a few aupairs out there who wouldn’t mind working with a nanny cam, but I think it’s only fair to talk about this before matching!

Seattle Mom May 10, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I really hope it’s not a cultural thing, because I agree with you 100% and I’m an American!

I hate the idea of being “watched.” It might get me to work harder in the short run out of fear, but it will lose my loyalty and my real motivation to do a good job.

Julia May 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I would like to add a question to the whole process. I was an au pair and because of so many hours my hostmom decided to put the child I was watching into day care two afternoons and the day care had a cam and my hostmum’s sister would watch all afternoon. So is that common that childcare facilities have cameras?

Seattle Mom May 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I think it’s pretty common, but not everyone does it. From what I can tell the bigger centers are more likely to have cameras, so that the parents can see their kids.

NHM May 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I wish my daughter’s school had cameras … it would be fun to peek in on her day occasionally :)

JenNC May 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

Hmm well we used to have cameras in our old house, but the primary reason was because I had my elderly grandma living with us, and I had care givers in and out that I didn’t have a relationship with, elders are at risk of abuse, and I wanted to ensure her safety, my son was only 8 months, so I also put a camera in his room, we had one in living area and in my grandmas room. I had a nanny at that point and my other nannies were notified of the cameras prior to hire.

I think many families are using cameras now days but the specific reason isn’t to spy on caregivers, it is for home protection, and keeping an eye on our kids. I think it would be an invasion of privacy to have one In a bedroom that an aupair is living in, and not legal either.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with cameras in the home as long as all parties are aware of them. And personally if a caregiver WOULDN’T want to work for me because of a camera I wouldn’t want her, because that is suspect to me why would she be so worried about a camera if she doesn’t plan to do anything wrong. My nannies never had a n issue with them.

In some ways it is an added protection for a nanny or aupair, because it can back them up in case of an occurrence. If u use them as live feed an aupair can still visualize kids in different areas of the house, or on the yard for instance, especially if in charge of multiple kids of varying ages.

My good friend has 4 kids and her cameras are a valuable asset in making sure all kids are safe etc .

I think it all depends on the mind set. We have all seen the videos of horrendous child abuse by a caregiver caught on tape, so unfortunately they do serve a purpose. If I had any concerns my caregiver wasn’t treating my kids right I wouldn’t wait to find out by video.

Bottom line it is my personal property and my kids and it is up to parents to determine what they need to make them feel safe. Jen

APPiaGER May 12, 2013 at 8:40 pm

I wouldn’t even mind a nanny cam! I am looking for a family to match right now and I already thought about this, my result is that I would be ok with it! Because me as an honest and good AP would have anything to hide! For sure I would not like it in my room because a little bit privacy should be given but when I am with the kids? Why not! I could imagine that it is really hard for parents to leave their kids with someone they really dont know the first days! Also it could help to solve issues within the communication between AP and Family!
A little bit trust just be given to the AP! I would hope that my AP Family would trust me but when I put myself in the position of a mother I would probably be as insecure about it too!
I’m only 18 and I think that I am mature for my age but I dont think that every AP is like that! Safety goes first! And its not like the Host Fam is stalking you or whatever but just even for me as an soon to be AP it would be good to know that I have the safety if anything goes wrong ( what I wouldnt hope for) but even if the parents ALWAYS have the possibillity to make sure you did everything you could and should!
I would not mind. But I think its because I am doing this AP thing with a pure heart and complete honesty what is sadly not always the case! Pia :)

Silvia May 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

In my opinion, I think an au pair would feel she’s not being trusted. But, seeing this as a mom and if my kid was a baby or simply not speaking yet, I would DEFINITELY have a cam. Now, I saw the video of the russian nanny beating up the baby. I felt goosebumps!!!!!!!!! And immediately shut it down. GOSH!!!!

Au Pair in Australia May 23, 2013 at 3:12 am

some kids are too young to explain mums what is the au pair doing in her working hours as some really check their facebook when caring a baby instead of interacting and any mum as an employer has the right to assess the performance of the au pair

Jenna Black June 11, 2013 at 1:45 am

I definitely agree with a lot of the previous comments, if its time to get a camera it is probably time to get a new au pair!

LookingFowardToBeAP June 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I wouldnt mind being watched, maybe u get a HM that is a little control freek, its ok, i could understand she would want to see whats going on when she isnt there, specially in the begining os the au pairing year. And after that maybe u miss your children and would like to see what they do. I wouldnt feel offended by the HF doing it, even if they didnt tell me, its their house, its their children and to have concerns is natural, maybe u want to check if i’m really doing what you told me, i think, of course if as a HF u have a bad feeling about whats going on that is to say u think ur kids are being mistreated u should not doubt about the nanny cam, specially if u go to rematch bc u’ll have to give references right?

LookingFowardToBeAP June 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

wouldnt be happy with one in the room i sleep in though, that would be invading my privacy.

The Young One August 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

So first up, a camera in the APs room is not legal. They actually tell you so on the orientation and do say, it’s legal if the family has them in public rooms, but bathrooms as well as the APs room are not okay.

I kind of stumbled over this a few month ago and felt the urge to ask my hostparents, since in the living room, there was a strange bulb in the corner. But they just laughed, because – first of all – my HD was home 24/7, working from the living room and when they rented the house it just came with it and they themselves had no idea what it was. It was a bit of a release.
I do not have anything to hide, but the idea that you feel you have to watch me, even when I’m there for a few *month* makes me uncomfortable just because you still don’t have trust in me and my work.

On the other hand I know a Family, not in the AP program but with a Nanny though, that have a ‘nanny cam’.
It’s standing on a shelve in the babys bedroom, staring down at her bed — because this brave little girl had a lot of trouble when she came to this world. Heart failure, several surgeries and even when she finally could go home, she was attached to an oxygen tank.
So her mom had ANY reason to be scared of leaving her alone, especially in her crib where she truly was without any supervision – but I’d treat that differently then a nanny cam in the rest of the house — because here it’s not a fear or trust issue with the Nanny but her babygirls health.

Seattle Mom August 14, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I’m coming back to this topic now because a friend of mine just caught her nanny neglecting her child with her nanny cam. I don’t know the details, but she said she saw the nanny ignoring the 12 month old child in her playpen while she watched TV and sent text messages for an hour.. and there were other similar things. But I remember that a couple of months ago my friend complained to me that her nanny was doing other things she didn’t like, such as napping while her child napped.

This alone doesn’t make me rethink the nanny cam option (which I have been opposed to), but also my friend told me that her other friend had a nanny break her child’s femur, and didn’t have any evidence so the child was taken away by social services- they suspect the parents and are investigating. My friend says that if they had a nanny cam they might have had evidence. I don’t know if that’s true, because it could have happened anywhere…

So anyway I’m wondering if there are other good reasons to have a nanny cam.. and thinking that if I were to get one I’d tell my AP and tell her where it is and why I have it. But I don’t know.

HRHM August 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

I too am rethinking, although we are going with “security” cameras through out the house. AP will be made aware of them and they will be in all the public areas including the hallway outside the bedroom doors. Our main reason is theft losses. Our first AP (2008) stole from us and we accidentally caught her right before she left at the end of the year. That should have been enough for me, buy no, I continue to trust in the basic goodness of others. Fast forward to June this year when I discovered $20000 plus in jewelry missing from my bedroom! No way to prove where it went but my top suspects are APs brother (stayed with us as a guest) APs friends (while she was in shower or downstairs) or AP herself. I will never know, but I’m not taking the chance again. My kids are old enough to tell me what the AP is doing, but it’s what happens when no one is around that’s starting to become an issue.

gianna August 19, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I haven’t had anyone steal anything from me but this story is raises concerns. How does everyone handle this sort of thing : having someone live with you and allowing them to bring friends into the home ?. I have a few valuable pieces of jewelry but I keep them locked in a very private location. I have a liquor cabinet which is locked, too. I also have some good chocolate tucked away but on a serious note, I would love to hear how other people handle this.

Taking a Computer Lunch August 19, 2013 at 8:21 pm

None of my APs have stolen from me. One AP had a ne’er do well friend, who stole $80, a new digital camera, and a tweezer set — and then had the gall to call her and ask to borrow money (when she failed to rematch she was heading home). The friend was involved in a lot of risky behavior, and we were happy to see her go. Most of the things we thought were missing during the past 12 years have been found with a thorough house-cleaning.

Now, child #2, was found one day hiding a sock under the cushion of an ottoman. When we lifted it up, we found our AP’s watch, $5 of hers, several things from her purse, and lots of little things from the house, including several socks. Apparently she thought it was cute to watch him rummage through her purse and he had a safe place for his treasures (he was 16 or 17 months old at the time). She had never told us her watch or other things had gone missing, and we all had a good laugh. (And then we told her to stop finding bad behavior cute.)

MidAtlantic Host Family August 19, 2013 at 5:26 pm

My grandfather once told me that you should expect a certain amount of theft that is out of your control when you have multiple people working in your house. It is the cost of doing business. While it is very effective at ensuring your childcare provider is being safe with your children and protecting against burglary, I am not sure video surveillance is the most effective means against the thefts described above.

I recommend a safe in a safe location for special items. You will find you put lots in there and like having it. We also lock certain doors when not in the house.

Sara Pranio August 19, 2013 at 8:07 pm

We’ve never had an issue, but it’s something I’ve thought about this year since our au pair has so many non-au pair friends and it seems like not a set group that hangs out all the time.

Our first had mostly friendships that lasted the whole year with other au pairs. They would come over for dinner or sleep over, and would engage with us and the kids when they were here. I didn’t worry at all about them.

Our current au pair has had a few friends that have been friends all year, but mostly it seems like new people every time and mostly are not au pairs. I think she meets people out. They’ve all turned down our dinner offers and come right in and go down to her room with the door shut.

I think I offended her when I made it very clear that our open friend policy continued, but that it was on her if something happened. But it’s just not as comfortable a situation for us and I do worry since these people make no effort to even say hi or acknowledge that this isn’t just her apartment.

For this next year, I will be clarifying that I need to meet people that are coming over frequently and definitely need to meet anyone spending the night and that no non-au pairs will be allowed to spend the night unless they have come over and made an effort to get to know us.

That said, we don’t have any real valuables anyway. I can’t think of anything anyone would steal that I would really care about, but I’m sure if it happened it would be violating. I like the idea of a safe somewhere, but also make an effort to generally not have things in the house that you’re going to explode over if they get ruined or misplaced. Good rule with children anyway.

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