You recently hired a new nanny. On paper they're great, but a niggling doubt in your gut tells you something's isn't right.
You remember some statistics from a 2001 department of justice report.
Apparently, 14% of America's 18.5 million children under 5 years old are cared for regularly by non-family babysitters, or nannies. The same report also stated that babysitters commit 4% of all crimes against children under 6.
Understandably, you want to make sure your child is in the right hands. Especially when you aren't there in person.
Among their many benefits, nanny cams are a popular way of doing just that. Keeping a distant eye on your children and nannies can be exceptionally reassuring.
But are they legal?
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the legality of nanny cams.
What's a Nanny Cam?
Nanny cams are pieces of recording equipment used to keep an eye on any caregiver looking after your kids.
The cameras may be placed strategically around the house, sometimes without the nanny knowing of their presence. It can be a reassuring way of checking the standard of care your child is receiving when you're not there in person.
However, there are certain legal issues you should know about.
Are Nanny Cams Legal?
The simple answer is yes, they are. But there's a bit more to it.
In all 50 states, it is legal to use hidden cameras on privately owned property, even if the nanny doesn't consent to it.
However, in 13 of those states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Utah) it's illegal to put them in private places without the permission of those being recorded.
Think bathrooms. Or the live-in nanny's bedroom.
Essentially, you can't put a camera (or make any form of recording) anywhere you'd reasonably expect not to be filmed.
Avoid such issues by putting nanny cams in common areas such as your playroom or kitchen.
The Difference Between Audio and Video Recording
Recording audio is far more restricted compared to video.
Make sure you're aware of your state's individual laws before making audio recordings.
In 38 states, you can legally record conversations that you're part of, without informing the others. But you can't if you live in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania or Washington.
In these states, you must tell your nanny if you wish to record both audio and video.
Put it in writing and get them to sign it.
Violating this law can lead to prosecution. But worse, evidence of any form of mistreatment you find may become inadmissible during legal proceedings.
To Record or Not to Record?
Nanny cams are a great way of checking up on a babysitter's conduct. And, given the rate of crime by babysitters against children it's understandable to want this insight.
With or without the consent of your nanny, it's almost always legal to do so. But be aware of your state's individual laws.
You might not be able to place them in private parts of the house. Or you may not be legally able to make audio recordings without prior permission from the nanny.
Are you thinking of putting nanny cams up in your home? Has this post been helpful? Let us know in the comments!