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What is the Recommended Documentation for Nannies, Babysitters, Child Care Providers, and Day Care Center Providers?

By David A. Wolf, Attorney – Child Injury Lawyer Blog
Building Blocks - A B CWhen a child is placed under the care of a third party in the form of a nanny, babysitter, child care provider, and day care provider, it is important that the person caring for the child act in a reasonable and conscientious manner.  Certainly, the child care provider should be attentive to the needs to the child and act at all times in a calm, professional, and caring manner.  Unfortunately, far too many children suffer injuries while under the care of a third party due to inattention, neglect, distractions like a mobile phone or tablet, and other reasons. Communication and documentation can be quite helpful to parents who are concerned about the well-being and care of the child during the time periods that the child is under the care of a third party.  If the child is enrolled in a licensed day care center, there are requirements for documentation that in many instances are a bit minimal.  For children being watched by a nanny or babysitter, there are no documentation procedures or requirements in most states.  As such the care and documentation for the same are up to the respective nanny, baby sitter, or child care provider and the parents who hired the third party.  A couple in Dover New Hampshire developed a program / app called Cubby Notes which provides child care providers a tool to document the care, observations, condition, and well-being of the child while under their care. See New Hampshire Couple Develops Cubby Notes for Child Care. 
It is a tool that can and should be used by all nannies, babysitters, and child care providers.  While the app or tool is not a guarantee that a child will be well cared for, it is a useful tool that keeps the duty of care as top of mind for child care providers.  There is a maxim in the medical world as follows:  “If it is not documented – it is not done.”   This is a simple but important motto that can and should apply to the day care settings as well.
As for what is recommended for child care, this will depend, in part, on the age of the child, needs of the child, number of children being cared for, the expectations and comfort level of the parent, and other factors.  It is quite simple to document food and fluid intake, diaper changes, nap time and duration, and play time and duration.  Photographs and video are also important to show to the parent and document for the child care provider the condition, spirit, and health of the child during the time that he or she is being cared for by a third party.  Nanny cams (cameras) and streaming video from the home or day care center facility are also important tools for the monitoring of the child and the care being provided to the child.
If a child is enrolled in a licensed day care center, the parent should review the applicable state rules and regulations for documentation and record keeping.  The parent should also ask the day care center about the day care center’s own practices, policies, and procedures for documentation.   When a child is injured as a result of the negligence or carelessness of a third party like a day care center, child care center, babysitter, or nanny, there may be a civil case or claim to pursue on behalf to the injured child.  The four essential elements of a case include the follows:
  1. Duty;
  2. Breach of Duty;
  3. Causation; and
  4. Damages
While it is not an official element of a case, it is also important for there to be liability insurance as part of the case that is being pursued. There may be a strong legal case against a third party for neglect, abuse, and careless conduct; however, without the presence of liability insurance OR a financially strong defendant, it may be quite challenging to collect upon a subsequent settlement or judgment in the case.
David Wolf is a child injury attorney and advocate who has devoted his entire legal career to the protection and enforcement of the rights of injury victims including children.  He is the author of 7 books including the book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know -which has chapters on Day Care Center Injuries, School Injuries, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics.  You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.   David Wolf is also the author of the book titled – Broken Trust – Abuse, Neglect, and Molestation – Legal Rights of the Injured Child.  Get this book for free at Broken Trust.