Sunday

Bad Nanny on The Block

Sunday, November 7, 2010
Opinion 4 I was wondering if you guys could give me advice on my neighbor's bad nanny. First, let me preface this by saying that I have hardly spoken to these neighbors besides a passing "hi". Our townhouses are in courtyards, so I have a pretty direct view of their house.

Anyways, they have one little girl (about 3 years old) and one sneaky nanny. Almost everyday, this nanny waits until about an hour after the parents leave and then she puts the child in her car, drives away, and comes back mid-afternoon. I thought that maybe the nanny takes the girl to activities or classes, but I highly doubt it. I also have noticed that she ignores her charge, but then takes walks and plays outside with the child about 20 minutes before the parents arrive home. I've noticed this for awhile and thought it was strange, but after an incident that took place last week, I feel like maybe I should do something.

One morning last week I noticed that she rushed out of the house with the child, placed the child in the car with no car seat and didn't even put a seat belt on her. I thought maybe it was an emergency (but still!), however I noticed it again the next day. I hadn't ever seen her leave with the child before, just notice that she is there in the morning and then the car is gone until later in the afternoon. So perhaps it was just a two time thing. Regardless I would definitely not want a nanny that would do that even once, unless it was life or death.

Should I say something to the parents about this? Or should I just keep it to myself? It would be pretty awkward for me to just ring their doorbell, since I have never done that before, but I could possibly catch them in the courtyard. I appreciate any advice you could give me, I don't want to stick my nose into something I have no business being, but it really makes me sad to see such great parents have such bad child care.

46 comments:

BostonAreaNanny said...

You should absolutely say something! I'm not going to pick apart your post for any assumptions you make, but if you have seen this nanny place the approximately 3 year old child into her car with no carseat even one time, you should say something! Wouldn't you want to know if it were your child?? Sure, what the nanny does with the child during the day when out isn't your business, but I definitely feel like if you have witnessed this nanny driving away with the child unsecured in the car you should mention something. How would you feel if the nanny got into an accident and you hadn't said anything?

ChiNanny said...

If she's putting the child in the car without a car seat or seat belt, I would talk to the parents. That is a huge safety risk as well as against the law. I wouldn't tell them about her being gone all day, since you don't know that that is anything "wrong", but as far as the safety issues, definitely speak up. That child's life is in danger and I would think her parents would want to know.

TC said...

My rule of thumb is if this was your nanny would you like to know?

Next time you see them, whether is be in the courtyard or if you have to ring the doorbell I'd tell them what you've seen. Sure it might be awkward but what if something happens to the little girl because she's not in a car seat nor buckled?

Someone's Nanny said...

yeah, you should tell them. Not putting the child in a carseat is negligent and against the law. I'd want to know the minute someone decided to drive my charges around unstrapped, and they aren't even my kids! As far as your assumptions as to what she is doing all day with the girl, just be careful how you word it. If she really is taking her to activities then you don't want to end up looking nosy. You could say something like "I thought is was so nice of your nanny to take your daughter to activities every day, but I'm concerned that she's not using a car seat or a seat belt."

M Ruehl said...

I would march over there, knock very hard on the door and wait for the employer to answer. I would then say in no uncertain terms that you are there to inform them of their nanny's malfeasance and read from a prepared list of transgressions. No sense getting tongue tied. Those kids could end up dead! Dead. And it would be on you!

Manhattan Nanny said...

She is breaking the law, and endangering the little girl. The parents should be grateful if you alert them.

MissMannah said...

I think you should definitely tell the parents about the carseat issue--but that's it. You are making broad assumptions about everything else. How does keeping the child out of the house all day long make her a bad nanny? A former employer of mine used to specifically request I do so.

This also raises a legal question. Is it possible to call the local police when you see a child unbuckled? Just to give them the address and tag number so you don't have to get involved yourself. I was just wondering if anyone has experience with that.

Village said...

If there is no car seat in the car, and she is leaving everyday, you HAVE to say something. I think it's a safe assumption the parents don't want the car to leave the driveway with their child in it if there is no car seat installed.

I can't even imagine how I would feel if I didn't say something and the child was killed, and the parents never knew the child was leaving the house.

You could write a letter anonymously, and leave it in the mailbox. Be explicit as to times and behavior, and detail that it is EVERYDAY. Emphasize you are concerned about the child, not their parenting skills. It's amazing how people are quick to judge if you hire a horrible care giver, and don't know it. It happened to me. Thank goodness I came home early the first week, and realized what was going on. Turned out the neighbors knew, thought I knew, and thought I was the worst. parent. ever.

Momma Bear Wendy said...

I run an in home daycare and my co-provider reported a parent who left with no car seats or seat belts. She told the police who said that seat belt violations are only cited if there is another reason to pull them over. She also called CPS and they said that while it was breaking the law, it was not endangering the child in a way that they could do anything about and told her to call the police.

So really, if your area is like my area, the only effective thing to do is tell the parents. Just a simple heads up. I wouldn't worry about it being a case of over stepping your bounds as most parents would appreciate the information as long as you were factual and just genuinely concerned.

MojoRising said...

Just a thought- most parents who expect their nanny to transport their child to activities provide a car seat to be kept in the nanny's car. I've never known a parent who knew the nanny was driving with their child to not at least check the installation of the car seat. Due to the lack of car seat, they really might NOT know she's driving with their child. (Otherwise, I would assume the going out was ok, + perhaps the child attended a half day preschool program, hence the extended time away from home each day.)

imo said...

Maybe you should catch the nanny in the courtyard and start a conversation with her, you could ask where they are going casually... It's totally possible she's taking her somewhere totally legitimate. Once I had a neighbor tell on me and my boss talked to me about it later. I was more angry that the neighbor hadn't just said something to me DIRECTLY. What she "told on me" was so silly and my bosses thought she was an idiot and had total faith in me, but had she came to me directly it would have been a different response.

I think either way you should say something, to the nanny or to the parents, a child should not be in a car without a seatbelt/booser/car seat.

MissMannah said...

Wendy, yikes that is really scary. Imagine CPS saying it was not endangering the child! It so obviously is. If it was my home daycare, I think I'd put in a policy that I wouldn't let a child get into a car that doesn't have a carseat in it, just because I'd feel so responsible.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I have to agree with Mojo Rising that if the parents know and are okay with the nanny taking the child on day outings, then they would most likely have a car seat installed in the nanny's car. My recent job had me taking my charge on day outing every day and I usually left an hour after the parents left and was gone pretty much as long as I wanted to be gone. I don't think it would look suspicious to any of the neighbors since I had a car seat installed in my car that my employers purchased and installed for me. But if the nanny has no car seat in her car, then I betcha the family has no idea what is going on. I like the idea of sending an anonymous note to the family or just tell them when you see them in the courtyard. I think the fact that you see the nanny leave during her workday is not your business...but when you see the nanny put the three yr old in her car w/out a car seat then it is your business.
Let us know what happens. Good Luck.

OP said...

OP here, thanks you guys! Someone's Nanny, you are absolutely right, I definitely will say something and word it like that.

I had thought that she was going to a half day preschool program, but then I saw this and was so confused as to why she didn't have a car seat for her - especially since the parents would have to know that she was driving her. But you all very well could be right about that. I definitely won't say anything about the whereabouts during the day.

Thanks again for the encouragement! The dad goes and gets his mail everyday around the same time, I will try to catch him tomorrow and then I will let you all know how it goes!

Rocket Scientist said...

Good luck, OP! Sounds like a good plan. I'm looking forward to hearing the results.

Alex said...

You definitely should say something! I would bet since she is putting the child in the car without a car seat that she is not supposed to be driving the child anywhere. I think you should approach the parents nicely and just say you noticed something and if it was your child you would want to know. Just be nice about it, maybe they know but probably not. The nanny could get in a car accident with the child and they could be really hurt or who knows where she is bringing the child?

Observer said...

Say something. Just mention seeing no car seat for two days.

car seat said...

I think if you saw the child put in the car without a seat, you should say something.

Regarding the nanny going out with the child, that is a non-issue. I have a nanny and i leave her the car seat and she usually takes my child out (to the park, to her mom's house, market etc)

Momma Bear Wendy said...

MissMannah, I wish it was that easy but I cannot refuse to release a child to a parent unless there is a court order even if they are drunk, high or otherwise stupid. I do have it in my policies that I will terminate their contract for such behavior and I did.

Bostonnanny said...

I would also record what happens next time on your phone. That way you have proof and if they don't believe you.

TC said...

Boston nanny I thought about mentioning taking a video and then I thought longer about it and decided not to.

Just like you I thought it would be a good idea just in case the parents didn't believe the op but I don't think a video would sway them one way or another. Even if she took a video of it the nanny could still come up with an excuse....if they don't believe the op without the video I doubt they will believe her even with the video.

Phoenix said...

You are nosey but you've caught some good evidence. Why don't you talk to the parents and ask them what classes the nanny takes the little girl to everyday because you are interested in taking one of your three year old family members or friends kid. Then mention the seat belt.
Sneaky way to see where she is going.

YerStoopid said...

Or better yet, don't be a sneaky, scared POS like Phoenix obviously is and just come right out and tell her to knock it off, or tell the parents. This is a child's life, a human being. This isn't like a dog being left in a car. Do something about it. You never want to put yourself in a situation where you have to say "I could have done something but I didn't."

low budget. said...

It is ridiculous to think that every parent buys a second car seat for their nanny. I am a single mom and I cannot afford a car seat for my sitter, so I leave it for her. It is a top of the line car seat and there is no reason we cannot share.

low budget said...

I happen to think that Phoenix had the best suggestion yet. "yerstoopid" grow up!

YerStoopid said...

Sorry, that was me. Didn't mean to post as anon.

YerStoopid said...

And I think that anyone who needs to use a sneak attack in order to confront someone about a serious situation needs to grow up. Guess that means "BOTH" of you, lol.

Merval said...

U should go there and knock on the door and tell them. You should say " If not that I being noisy but a couple of times I have seen your nanny acting a little sneaky , and tell them about the car with no seat belts" and let them know . It could be nothing , but it could be something. . I think that they would respect your concern . I will if I have a child.

bostonnanny said...

I think Phoenix's idea was good. You have to remember these people are neighbors and you don't want to start problems with your neighbors.

Low budget, you should consider buying an extra carseat or getting one from a friend because removing and reinstalling a carseat can be dangerous. You need to make sure its firmly secure each time and follow the instructions to make sure you did it properly. Even Britax carseats which are top of the line and easy to install can have issues if not done correctly. When my family decided not to buy an extra carseat for me, I brought my own. I don't want the liability of something not being installed correctly and getting into an accident. I saw it as an investment, I can use for the next family I work for and for my nephew. and by having a police officer install it I feel even more comfortable.

Bally said...

I guess I consider someones life more important than friendly neighbors.

Phoenix said...

The point about asking the parents where the nanny is taking the kid was also to trap the nanny in case she was doing something she shouldn't be with the kid.

Grow up people. It is called being tactical without making yourself out to be a rat. It is more of setting up an oops! That way the parents will know there child is being taken out of the house if she wasn't supposed to be and she could also ask when the child graduated from the car seat. Simple questions without accusing anyone.

Phoenix said...

"their" I hate it when I use the word one

Bish said...

Yeah, because playing games is so grown up.

P.S. I think you meant 'wrong one'. You are forgiven.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Phoenix..don't worry about whether people on here disagree or agree with you. The most important thing to do is to speak your mind and just hope and pray the OP takes your advice to heart. Who cares whether the rest of us agree with what you say or not? I have had people on here disagree with me and it doesn't faze me one bit. As long as the OP (hopefully!) takes my advice and does the right thing is what I always hope for. So don't worry what others think.
I think as a nanny that if I am driving around a child on a regular basis, the parents should provide the car seat for me. However, if the parents could not afford one and I could, I would have no qualms buying it if I could afford it. The infant car seats are easier to install/take out, however for an older child they can be much harder to install/uninstall. I agree with bostonnanny on that.
OP, I cannot wait until you tell us what the parents say. I would bet that they did not know what was going on.

low budget said...

It is ridiculous to think that every parent buys a second car seat for their nanny. I am a single mom and I cannot afford a car seat for my sitter, so I leave it for her. It is a top of the line car seat and there is no reason we cannot share.

TheOriginalDenverNanny said...

To second Momma Bear Wendy:
I called to report an incident where children were being left in a vehicle (posted on ISYN) and was informed I was filing a police report and was therefore required to identify myself. This was after I called CPS and spoke to the preschool director and nothing happened. I still filed the report, but nothing ever came of it and thought you all should know that calling the cops might not do anything unless they catch her in the act.

NannyQ said...

It's more ridiculous to say you can afford a nanny, but not a car seat for that nanny. Whoever said that that is unsafe is right. You can get a secondhand one, or borrow one if need be. You're just lazy or cheap or something, that's no excuse.

MediationMama said...

If the nanny were just being a lazy nanny, then I would say, don't approach the parents. They will probably take it the wrong way, no matter how good your intentions. BUT, once the nanny starts putting the child in danger (and riding without a seatbelt is dangerous!), then I believe its your responsibility to alert the parents. Proceed cautiously though, you don't want the parents to become defensive. I would express your concern for the child at the start, so they would see you have the same interests at heart. Good luck!

Hungrycollegestudent said...

Am I the ONLY one dying to know what happened? :)

Psyber Chica said...

I'm always curious about the outcome. This OP actually said he/she would follow up, so I'm disappointed!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Yeah..OP..WHAT HAPPENED??! We all are losing sleep over this!! LOL.

Rocket Scientist said...

I always want to know the outcome, too, even if it's a disappointing one. I just like to hear the end of the story, I guess :)

MissMannah said...

Me too! Today and yesterday I signed on here right after getting home from work because I'm so curious as to how the OP's conversation with her neighbor went! Sometimes I think I am too nosy for my own good. ^_^

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Rocket Scientist and Miss Mannah..me too!!
Isn't this too funny? Who needs reality T.V. when we have this fabulous website!!!!
OP, please let us know!~

OP said...

OP here,

Sorry guys! Busy week. Well, I emailed the parents (we all have each others emails from the neighborhood association) expressing my concerns and they got right back to me and invited me over for tea.

They are extremely nice (just super shy) and were very appreciative. It sounds like they have had quite a few problems with the nanny- driving the baby on a ton of personal errands, outrageous cell phone usage, not playing with the child, etc. I felt bad being the bearer of more bad news, but I would feel even worse if something happened to the little girl.

They have a camera, that is very out in the open and obviously the nanny knows about, but they very rarely use it.

I have no idea whats going to happen, or what. But if something interesting (like angry nanny burns my condo down) or if she gets canned, I'll definitely let everyone know!

Thanks again, you guys all helped me to do the right thing!

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

Thank you so much OP. (Now I can finally sleep well tonight..LOL.)
Hopefully they will fire her because it seems they already had some issues and what you told them might just be the icing on the cake. I don't think the camera will be a big help..it may monitor the times she leaves and comes back from the house, but that is all. They probably want to can her, but know that they need a new nanny to step in as they need someone to watch the baby so they can go to work. Too bad they do not live in CA, I would be a much better nanny than the one they have now.