A typical aspect of being a nanny involves driving the children you care for to and from activities, appointments, grocery shopping etc.
As a child-carer, your job involves catering to the well-being of the child in your charge. You need to have certain safety measures in place to ensure that everyone makes it from point A to point B safely.
1. Car Maintenance
If using your own vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure that the car is properly maintained.
When was the last time you had an inspection? Is the MOT due? Is the tread low on the tyres or do they need inflating? Do all of your lights work?
Your car must be checked regularly by a professional and yourself to ensure that it meets legal safety requirements.
This also includes keeping the car clean. Your employer won’t thank you if you’re driving their children around in a dirty car. Wash your car at least once per week, it only takes a few moments and your car will look good as new.
You should also know how to change a flat tyre in case of an emergency, how to check your oil and your tyre pressure/tread. Having breakdown/roadside assistance cover is also a necessity. You wouldn’t want to break down with upset children in the car and no way to return them home.
Top Tip: If you’ll be using your employer’s car and you notice a fault or issue that needs attention, mention it to them immediately. As the driver it is still your responsibility to ensure that the car is safe to use.
2. Car Seats & Boosters
If your employer is providing their own car seats/booster chairs, you’ll need to fit these correctly and know how to use them. Ask the parent to help you if you have any trouble.
If you’re providing these yourself or your employer has provided money for you to purchase additional seats for your vehicle, you will need to make sure that you buy the right car seat for the age of the child using it. You can also have car seats professionally fitted to your vehicle by outlets such as Halfords.
Regardless of whose vehicle you’ll be driving, you must be properly insured. Provide a copy of your insurance to your employer if you’ll be using your own vehicle or ask for confirmation that they’ve added you to their policy. You’ll need this information in the event of any accident.
Top Tip: Report any accident, no matter how small, to both your insurance provider and your employer as soon as possible.
Be clear with your employer about who will be covering the cost of petrol or if your employer will be reimbursing the mileage. Ensure that anything agreed upon is clearly stated in your contract so that you can refer to it if necessary.
5. Discuss a Schedule
Ask your employer how often you’ll be expected to drive their children. Will you be required to drop the children off at activities and then do errands or will you have to just wait until they’re finished and take them home? Do they have rules against talking on the phone (handsfree) whilst driving their children?
All of these questions need to be answered before you start driving the children to and from activities and should be included in your contract.
6. In-Car Entertainment
Children, especially young children, can be quite boisterous and excited on car journeys. Whether it’s boredom, excitement or sibling rivalry, crying, exclamations and tantrums whilst driving can be distracting and dangerous. Therefore, you should provide a range of ways to keep the children busy and quiet whilst you’re driving. This can be anything from a sing-along cd, colouring books, story books, a film/cartoon or a gaming tablet.
Top Tip: If the child is old enough to understand, explain to them why being quiet in the car is important.
Top Tips for Parents/Employers: Be sure to check your nanny’s driving record to ensure that there are no red flags for dangerous driving. If your nanny will be using your car to drive, provide a quick run through/test drive of any features (including what fuel to use) and how to use the car seats.