Legal Tips For Babysitters

Children, Consumer protection, Taxes, Tips & how-to

legaltipsforbabysittersThink Before You Spank

State laws generally allow spanking by babysitters — with a reasonable amount of force — whatever that means.  You’re safest sticking to other methods of enforcing good behavior, since whether a swat causes a “personal injury” is somewhat ambiguous.

Say Cheese

You may be on camera, although it may not be legal.  Nanny-cams used for reasonable purposes are generally legal. Babysitting in another person’s home doesn’t doesn’t necessarily constitute a reasonable expectation of privacy, so these videos are often admitted in court. Audio recordings, however, generally violate wiretapping laws and are therefore inadmissible in court.

Watch Out For Falling Objects

Avoid child endangerment charges by taking care with objects like televisions (a common offender, believe it or not) or other heavy objects inhabiting walls or high shelves.

Pay Your Taxes

Babysitting income is generally taxable.  It does, however, depend on factors including whether you’re under 18, how much money you made, and whether babysitting is your primary money maker. An employer may be willing to pay you off the books, but if they use your fees as a tax write-off, your non-tax-paying ways will not go unnoticed.

Consider A Business License

If your babysitting is growing into a small business, you may need to obtain a business license. In some states, the amount of time you spend babysitting – especially if it happens in your own home – could warrant the need to become a licensed day care manager.  In this case, you will need to have your home inspected to make sure it is safe for children.

A babysitter’s job is to keep children safe.  Fail to do so, and you could find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit.  Keep to the rules, take proper precautions, do it all legitimately, and you’ll have loads less to worry about.