Received Friday, September 22, 2006
In 2004, I was caught completely off guard when I came face to face with the fact that my nanny had been abusive and negligent to my two children. Both children were under 4. I was at work on a Thursday afternoon when I got a call from the police in the town next over from that where we resided. The nanny had taken my children to the mall without permission and she had left both children in a minivan strapped into their car seats with treats and drinks while she went shopping. The children were in a large city inside a large, scary and dark indoor parking facility inside the vehicle (fortunately the weather was not a factor). My four year old son grew bored and got out of his carseat and opened the door to the minivan (setting off the car alarm, thank Goodness). I don't even want to imagine what could have happened. But had the alarm not went off and a mall security guard not observed my son attempting to unbuckle his two year old sister from her carseat, I would have never known what went on. The security guard called the police and contacted me. The nanny's excuse was of course that she "had" to run in to exchange something but it took longer than she had expected. Sadly, after speaking with the children we learned this wasn't the first such incident nor were the incidents limited to negligence. After we fired the nanny, we shared some of the details with friends and family. In almost every instance, someone said something to the effect of "I always thought..." or "she seemed..." or "I knew something was off". The time to tell someone you noticed something strange or suspicious isn't after the fact-but before. I am the mother, I leave the house every morning at 700 to work in NYC and don't return home until 730. When I was around or my husband was around, the nanny was fantastically attentive to the children. People are too hesitant to interfere these days. MYOB seems to be the order of the day, but I urge you to take action. If you interact with someone on a regular basis and you see things, please let the parent know. Provide the parents the information they need to evaluate the situation. If you are hesitant in anyway, send an anonymous note or email to the parent, but please do something.
Thank you for listening,
name withheld by request