Be careful when hiring a sitter online -

Tips for booking a babysitter

Just do a simple Google search 'online babysitter finder' and the results are staggering. There is no shortage of websites that care about helping you find a hire.

It's the television commercial that caught our attention to this trend. It also caught the eye of Danielle Comstock, the mother of rambunctious 2-year-old Harley.

"Hey this is really cool I've never heard of this. And it sounds so innovative because I can see that service really being needed," says Danielle.

Danielle works full-time and is planning a wedding, so a "night out" with her fiance has been few and far between.

With no immediate family available to watch Harley, she went right to After posting a job opening to find a babysitter the prospects were almost instantaneous - 22 applicants in no time.

We asked Sitter City Chief Brand Officer Melissa Marchwick how they check out the people they allow to advertise sitting services on their website.

"[The background checks] are very extensive. They check for all misdemeanors and felonies," Marchwick explains. "Their profile, before it's placed on, it goes through a 3rd party review process. Their identity is verified and they're checked again with national databases and registries. So there's even more safety touch points than that background check."

A gold banner in the bottom of a sitter's profile picture shows the sitters have agreed to the background check and the check is completed. Sitter City says if anything comes up on a sitter's background check, their profile is not posted on the site

"This is one of the first, the earliest and the most important decisions you will make on behalf of your child," says Janet Singerman, President of Childcare Resources Inc.

Singerman recommends parents make a checklist of what you want in a prospective sitter before meeting them.

"If you're searching online that's just your first step and that is followed up by conversations, visits, reference checking and comparisons," says Singerman.

And you can do all of that on Each sitter has an in-depth profile detailing their age, experience, pay scale, reviews from previous families, references you can call or email directly. Some sitters even have specialized qualifications.

Danielle checked the site and did her homework.

"I picked my sitter based on the fact she worked very closely, could easily come to the home. She had the qualifications," says Danielle.

An added bonus for busy moms like Danielle looking for that childcare help in an instant.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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