Safe Bathing...

Received Monday, July 21, 2008 - Perspective & Opinion
Nannies, please advise. I want to start out by saying I do not mean to offend anyone. As a concerned parent who is hiring a nanny for the first time, I plan to install a camera initially. Every day I hear aweful stories the really scare me however I do know there are honest and trustworthy nannies out there. I certainly plan to tell my nanny that we will have video cameras initially. My dilemma is the bathroom. I am torn because I do think it is sick to record anyone in the bathroom, however, how do I make sure that my babies are being bathed safely? I have more than one bathroom the nanny is free to use for personal reasons - but it still feels odd. I could also have the camera pointed just to the bathtub?? I really need some advice and thought that nannies could offer some creative solutions.

I work long hours and plan to mostly bath them myself. However, if for example they happen to spit up on themselves or the oldest rubs speghetti in his hair - as he loves to do, I'd rather not have them be dirty all day have to wait for me. I am not comfortable with putting a camera in the bathroom, but at the same time they are too big for the sink. Again, I'm looking for some kind of creative solution. Ideas welcome!


UmassSlytherin said...

poor mama, relax! it will be ok. I can see you are stressing out over this.

Here is my suggestion, as I have stated to you before on the other thread:
do NOT put a nanny cam in the bathroom. Bad idea! Your children will be fine without a bath, they really will. Tell the nanny to sponge bathe them on the changing table or in the kitchen if they get really messy. In a daycare setting, the children do not bathe! So there will be nothing wrong with a baby or older child waiting until mom can give them a real bath.

That's just my suggestion. Good luck!

V said...

By "being bathed safely", what do you mean? Without molestation? Drowning? Because either of those could really happen in any other room, too.

My solution is: don't do it! If nanny knows there are cameras around, she's bound to be more careful, period.

p j v said...

kids like being dirty, that would be why your kid rubs spaghetti on his head. it wont be a chore for him to wait until you get home. no cam in bathroom.

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

Great advice Umasslytherin.

A sponge bath is always a good solution.

A nanny cam is a wonderful way to help keep your children safe and to give you peace of mind.

Once you hire your nanny, you can always ask a friend or relative to make a few unexpected pop ins at the house just to peek in and see how things are going during the day. (if you are able to do so that is even better. I know long hours can make that hard though). My employer used to do that in the begining. I knew why and was happy to see that it eased her mind.

Goodluck with your nanny search.

Liv said...

Definitely tell your nanny about the cameras from the get-go. As a nanny, I would feel completely violated if I found out that my employers were recording me without my knowledge, especially in such a private place. You cannot guarantee that your nanny will not use that restroom, even if you have others for her to use. That is, unless you tell her that you're putting a camera in there. Of course then you'll have to explain to your nanny why you are recording her while she bathes your kids. Your nanny might still be upset that you don't find her trustworthy enough to do so without a camera over her shoulder.

This is a toughie...I understand your wanting to keep your kids safe. But at the same time, I can't imagine my employers telling me that they don't trust me enough to give their kids a bath. If the mom told me that they were going to put cameras in the bathroom I would probably give notice immediately. I would just not feel comfortable.

That's my just my opinion ;)

does this moniker make my butt look big said...

oh and I bathroom nannycam..yucky!!

Liv (again) said...

The spongebath idea is a good one. Or she could just use a cleanie. In the summertime, maybe she could take said spaghetti-covered child outside to play in the sprinkler for a while ;)

You could give these suggestions to your nanny and just tell her you worry about drowning. That wouldn't be offensive to your nanny (as opposed to "I'm worried you're going to molest my child")

Emily said...

I think you need to consider the bathroom nannycam issue seriously.

It sounds like you're approaching the camera thing in a pretty realistic way and being upfront with your nanny is a great thing--be prepared to lose some candidates, however (you'd probably lose me).

You said you work long hours and that baths given by the nanny will be rare. Why can't you show the person you hire exactly how you want the children bathed and then watch her do it a time or two when it's convenient. Then you can rest assured that the nanny knows just how you want the kids cared for in the bathroom.

The cameras in other areas, which will get more of their daily activities, will be a good indicator of how well the nanny cares for your children. It's doubtful that you'd find someone perfect in the kitchen, dining room & living room, but evil in the bathroom.

Nicole said...

I am a nanny and I completely understand why families choose to use nanny cams as well as drop in unexpectedly. However I agree with liv that if a parent didn't trust that I could safely give a child a bath I wouldn't give the position a second thought. It would send up huge red flags that this is going to be a difficult family to work for.

Trust your instincts and find somebody that you feel comfortable and at ease with. If you don't feel this way about her then she's not the right nanny for you!

... and cameras in the bathroom pointed any way is definitely not a good idea!

No Longer Anonymous Regular said...

There are some really nice washclothes meant for infants infused with Johnson's baby soap. All you have to do is add water. They are great for quick clean-ups or a child who does not like the bathtub (like my youngest--we went to using these clothes on the changing table with a bowl of water when he outgrew the baby tub because he would panic scream and struggle to get out everytime we tried to put him in the big bathtub).

JerseyXJacqui said...

I'm with liv and nicole. OP, find a competent nanny and you won't have to worry about bathing. The nanny cam is fine, but I'd be very offended if my employers didn't trust me with their child's safety.

Emily offered good advice. All you have to do is show exactly how you want them bathed and observe her once or twice to make sure you're both on the same page. Of course you have every right to ensure the safety of your children and expect things like mealtimes and bathtimes to be done in a way you're comfortable with, but putting a nanny cam in the bathroom is pushing the envelope a bit.

Yaya said...

I am not against nanny cams (as a nanny myself), although I guess it's a little weird 'knowing' that someone would be watching me as opposed to where I've usually just 'wondered' if they have cams or not.

I thought nanny cams in the bathroom were illegal?

LindaLou said...

OP, would you mind sharing how old the children are? i'm trying to picture the *too old for the sink, but still afraid they'll drown* age... my 3.5 year old still fits in the kitchen sink, but he's a wee wisp of a boy. at any rate, i'm often really surprised by what employers have their nannies do. personally, i wouldn't want anyone else to be bathing my young children.

UmassSlytherin said...

I'm with you, LL. I would just skip the bath and the bath-cam altogether if I were OP.

alex said...

I definitely do not think you should put the camera in the bathroom. I know it is actually illegal to do it in a nannies bathroom without their knowledge, but I would think it still would be frowned upon even if she knew. What if you have people over and they use that bathroom?

I think it is great that you are being concerned, but you are bordering on paranoid. :) I think if the nanny knew you had a camera in the bathroom she wouldn't take the job because she would be worried what else you would do.

That said, work really hard interviewing and monitoring people and how they interact with your children. Then choose that person and trust that she will be right. You already sound quite concerned to find the right nanny for your children, so I doubt you will end up with someone that is normally described on this blog.

seppa said...

This brings a question to mind. I apologize for somewhat hijacking...

Is it illegal to use nanny cams without telling the nanny ahead of time? I was watching some show about a couple of weeks ago, and this person was installing cams in his house without telling the person he was recording. The person at the cam store said it was perfectly legal for him to do this without consenting with the employee first. Is this true or not?


cfg said...

Was this show by any chance called "Flipping Out"?
I saw the episode where he caught his employee being lazy, showed it to him, then fired him.

UmassSlytherin said...

from my understanding it is legal to record images without telling the person, but not sound. At least that's what I've heard.

Your Supervisor said...

You can install anything you damn well please in your own home.

Jane, been away awhile, your blog looks great, Keep up the good work. Love the new policy and all the pics of everyone..yaya..chick...linda lou...come on sprak and mpp. and jane, lets take the glasses off...

KC said...

I would advise you to appoint one bathroom for your nanny to use, and make sure that she knows that the reason for that is that there are cameras in the other bathroom. Hopefully she won't have a problem with that. And I'm so glad you're telling her!

Manhattan Nanny said...

Personally, I would be fine with a cam at the beginning of a new job, but not in the bathroom!
Maybe you should hold off on having the new nanny bath your child until she has been with you long enough for you to feel comfortable having her do it.
Do you have a good safe bath seat to use in the tub? If not, one might give you more peace of mind. The ones that attach to the side of the tub are very secure.

Anonymous said...
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relax said...

Sorry hit the wrong key. Here it is again without being anon:

Maybe its just because I don't have kids but I really think you should trust that in the rare occassion your child gets dirty enough to need a bath that the nanny would be capable of giving the child one. There are so many other ways we could all die in any given day that the risk that the child would get dirty enough to need a bath and that the nanny would be dumb enough to do something so horrendous that the child would drown is VERY unlikely.

ericsmom said...

If I worked long hours, I would want to spend that time at nite to bathe my own child. It can be a little bonding time for all of you. I know you will be tired BUT the nanny I am sure is tired too at the end of a long day. You did mention you work long hours. So the nanny is working long hours as well.

I like the above suggestions everyone gave, on wiping down the kids.

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me said...

I'm a nanny, and personally I would never hire a stranger to watch my kids. I take excellent care of the kids I watch and treat them like my own but I have seen the worst.

First, putting cameras in and telling someone won't do you any good. I have seen people resent their bosses because of it and they just treat the children even worse in blind spots or outside the house.

Try and find someone of whom you know the reference. A friend's past nanny or someone that has been the nanny of someone you know pretty well. A reference from someone you don't know could be fake.

When you hire a nanny, take two days off work and let her shadow you through the day. She will do everything the way you do because they're your kids and if she is a good nanny then she will respect that.

Good Luck and remember background checks could just mean they haven't been caught and references could be totally made up.

Communication said...

why don't you just go over how you would like her to bathe the children. the two of you can do it together the first time. just have a converstaion with her about water saftey and how you have heard stories of children drowning in very little water in a matter of seconds. communication is a must! once you talk to her she will understand where you are coming from and surely be on the same page as you. she will definitely agree with you about the importance of safety or she is not the right nanny for you. after this dicussion, you must rest assured that she will take great care of the kids in the bathtub. you will have no need to install a camera there. besides, what are you going to do, watch the video each day when she bathes the kids? you may not even know what days that is and you will certainly not have time to go through the video each day.

Ami said...

One of the only ways a toddler will drown in a bath tub is if they are left unsupervised. Therefore you could put a camera outside the door to the bathroom, then if you observe her going in with the baby and coming out by herself you will know the baby is in there alone. Although that is like taking your chances cause one time could be the last time. Be sure to hire someone you can trust and make sure they know your bath tub rules.

m said...

It is interesting how most people here are hip with the idea of installing nanny cams- on one hand I get the fact that parents want to make sure their children are safe, but someone mentioned blind spots which is a good point. The other thing is that if a parent is putting in cams for only a short period then does that not open up your child to be (insert all your fears here) when the cameras are gone?

I suppose it is a good thing that there are many types of nannies out there, because it sounds very weird to me that a parent should wonder if the nanny can bathe a child.
What particular kind of nanny are you planning to hire that you cannot even trust with such a basic task?
There are many nannies who would just thank you for your time and move on with this whole nanny cam deal.
It is true it is very hard to have strangers in your home, and you don't know who to trust, but you really do have to follow that gut instinct when hiring your nanny.

Personally, if I interviewed with a family and they tell me they are installing nanny cams, I would move on because I would not be able to function effectively. Having a nanny cam on you is a little like having a SAHM underfoot and all the complications that arise from that.

I get pretty creative with the babies I take care of, I am very animated, very silly, I prance around, go on all fours- pretty much I am a full fledged theatre.

For me to make sure that I am modest at all times based on the angle of the camera...
This is exactly the reason I told my now employers that they can't tape my sessions, because I really don't want to feel self conscious, and I certainly don't want to be on camera. If I wanted to, I would have become a movie star.
They have respected that, and if they had insisted, they would have found themselves looking for another nanny, which they definitely don't want.

There is no job (especially one so personal)that is going to take away my self respect, by violating me through lenses.
As a live-in, there is so much they could see that has nothing to do with work- what is this...slavery mentality revisited?
I am happy that I am an excellent nanny, who could get a job anywhere and anytime, and will not put up with any kind of disrespect- though others may not see it this way.

Shadow me if you like. Hang around for a few weeks until you're comfortable,pop in and out, it's your house, but a camera I do not want on me- that I find to be a violation.

The very fact that you are wondering if you should put a camera in the bathroom makes me cringe, where have all the nannies rights gone? Are your children the only ones that matter?
What of phone conversations that I have at work, will those ever be private? Must you hear me in the bathroom doing a number 1 or 2 (I have heard sound in nanny cams, whether or not they are legal people do it.

Kudos to all the nannies out there who don't mind having the camera record their every move, but as for me, that is something I will never put up with.

I rambled on longer than I imagined, but it's a tricky one; where does one draw the line, I'm not quite sure, but I know I still have freedom of speech to say what I am comfortable with as opposed to what I'm not comfortable with to any employer.
Hopefully one day there will be a better solution to making sure that babies and children are always protected without violating the rights of innocent human beings.

K said...

I don't have a problem with the parents wanting to see what the kids and I do while they're at work.
If I was a parent, I would without a doubt have a nannycam for any child under the age of 5. I would want to know what's going on in my house and with my kids.
Nannycams in the bathroom however is just plain inapropriate. I would be mortified if I ever heard that someone had put a camera in someplace that I go to the bathroom.
I know that one of my boss' friend couldn't afford a nannycam so instead they used a tape recorder to record the voices of what was going on. I don't know how long things like those last, but if you wanted to hear audio in the bathroom than try that.
Good luck!

UmassSlytherin said...


I can totally see your point. Me, I would not have a problem with it. However, I would definitely get it in writing that these tapes are to be used for the sole purpose of monitoring the children and any use of them or sharing of them without my knowledge is not allowed. I would also have it state in the confidentiality agreement that any and all portions of this tape will remain private and what happens on them will not be disclosed to anyone other than the two parents, and that upon leaving the job the tapes become the property of ME.

I would make them sign this agreement and have it notarized. I really would. If they didn't want to, then and only then would I move on. I don't want to wind up on Youtube, either having a phone-argument with someone, taking a poo, or singing Hokey-Pokey.

MidWest Nanny said...


It's needless for me to repeat what has already been said, but I have to admit, I'm an excellent nanny and I would feel inhibited with a camera in the room. I wouldn't be as good of a nanny on camera. In fact, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't take a position where there would be one. Come home early, surprise me! I'll be delighted for you to catch me in doing what I do best . . . . my job.

Sometimes, when making a decision, the best thing that you can do, is to step outside of your own shoes and figure out how you would feel if you were the nanny.

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general gabe said...

It is illegal to record sound without the other person's permission. It is perfectly legal to record images. Anywhere, anytime and especially in your very own home!

UmassSlytherin said...

yes, gabe. that's what I thought. I would still ask the parents to sign a confidentiality agreement, though, regarding the film.

Marypoppin'pills said...

I would like to tell you about a hard lesson I learned.
There was a time that I was being stalked.
This guy would make these threatening calls, so I started to record them. After collecting several of them, I called the Police. They came over and listened to what I had taped this guy saying. Then they kindly told me ... after listening to them ... that it was illegal what I had done, and he could sue me! They suggested I erase them right there. (Afterwards, they advised a better plan of action, but needless to say, I was incensed after being put through all of that.)

I won't go any further into it, but Gen. Gabe is right. You may record video, but not audio ... unless you have the other person's permission.

justmeinct said...

i agree be upfront withthe nanny. is it even legal to put one in a bathroom?? as a nanny, if someone cant trust i know how to bathe a child, i dont want to work for them. can i watch the cameras while your withthe kids, to make sure I'M not working for a weirdo??

justmeinct said...

p.s.....if you insist on using a bthroom cam, do you have a half bthroom for the hnanny to use, jsut a toliet or sink?

mom said...

I only read the first several of these posts....but I would not put a camera in the bathroom. And I would not instruct the nanny not to bathe the child either. She will feel that you don't trust her.

If she is going to molest the chiold, she will do it out of the house once you tell her you have nanny cams. As far as drowning, all a camera would do is catch the event on tape, doing nobody any good in the end anyway.

Get a nanny you trust. Check up on her...A LOT. Tell her you prefer to give the bath yourself in the evenings as a bonding pre bedtime ritual, and that she should just wipe him off during the day and not worry about returning him to you in Spic and Span condition...unless something truly disgusting happens (which happens from time to time with kids) which case she should bathe him immediately. Tell her drowning is a particular concern of yours, so you don't want her to ever leave him alone in the bath, even for a second. Remind her of this fear a couple/few times. It may be a little obnoxious to keep repeating it...but this is your irreplaceable kid...and what's a little embarrassment on his behalf? And anyway, embarrassment is a major part of bing a mom anyway. (Just wait until he starts talking!)

mplsNanny said...

Here, bathroom recording is illegal.

kathleencares said...

No cams in the bathroom - really inappropriate! I agree with the other posts – hire someone you trust. Check references, and most importantly, go with your gut!

chick said...

OP, is this your first time hiring a nanny? If so, I do hope you'll take everyone's advice to heart, including mine!

1) Interview until you find someone you feel you can trust, and check and verify EVERYTHING on their resume.

2) When interviewing, inform candidates that you plan to use nanny cams. Be prepared for some nannies to thank you for your time and leave. Doesn't mean they wouldn't be great nannies, just means they are not willing to be taped.

3) Decide what PUBLIC spaces you will use cams in, and set them up. When doing this, accept that you cannot and will not capture every move made by nanny and chil(ren) without having a cam in every corner of every room.

4) Do NOT cam any of the bathrooms. It's a bad idea that will eventually bite you in the rear.

5) Discuss, while interviewing, your concerns about drowning, and your wish to take on the job of bathtime yourself regardless of how dirty the kids get durring the day. This may also cost you some candidates, because no matter how you phrase this it comes across as you not trusting their judgement and abilities.

6) When you have chosen someone to work a trial period, re-emphasize the drowning and no bath thing. At that point, you must resolve to NEVER, EVER comment on how grungy your child(ren) is/are at the end of the day. If you do, nanny will likely resent you for being illogical and unreasonable.

7) If/when you change your mind about allowing nanny to bathe your child(ren), be sure you let them know it was your personal issues, not any lack of faith in them that made you initially say, "No baths while nanny is here."

Good luck!

m said...

Nice job chick. Your post was well thought out.

m said...

Interesting thought.
The problem is I do NOT want the parents to see me in any compromising position.

A week ago the Dad wanted to come to the pool with me. His looked confused when I informed him I would not be coming into the pool with him.

I don't know what he was thinking, well to be fair it was my first time at that pool.

I do not need help nor company when I'm working, and I don't allow anyone to cramp my style.

Laura said...

if you cant trust someone to bathe your kid. don't hire someone. simple as that.

or spay them off with the hose. ha.

Rebecca said...

The issue of having a nanny cam at all aside, it is actually NOT legal to install cameras ANYWHERE in your own home if you have a live-in employee whose accomodations (within your home) are a part of the job. The employee is, in effect, paying rent on that space, and therefore it is illegal to record him/her in that space. In the MAIN areas of the home, it's legal. If the bathroom in question is one that the nanny expects to be able to use as part of her living OR work arrangements (as you would use a bathroom at your place of work), it is TOTALLY ILLEGAL to put a camera in it. At worst you could be arrested; at best, sued.

Someone also mentioned guests - if they used the bathroom and you filmed them, that would also be illegal. Think about it - if you went to a friend's house and used the bathroom and then found out you'd been filmed by a nanny cam, wouldn't you feel violated? Wouldn't you feel violated if you found out your boss was filming you pee or change or shower? Again, it's ILLEGAL. If you MUST have a camera for bathing, do as someone suggested and put it OUTSIDE of the bathroom.