How to Conduct a Nanny Background Check

November 8, 2016

Choosing a nanny isn’t a small decision — your child care provider becomes an extension of your family and special part of your kids’ lives. While an interview helps you evaluate your potential nanny or babysitter, you shouldn’t hire a candidate on the spot. Conducting a background check before you extend an official offer ensures that you are bringing a trustworthy caretaker into your home. Here are some things you should check and the reasons why it’s important to carry out nanny background screening.

  1. Social insurence number
  2. Criminal record information
  3. References
  4. Driving record
  5. Education verification

Read below for why nanny background checks are important, how you can conduct them and for more details on the above items.

Why does my nanny need a background check?##

You’ve talked to your potential nannies and they had all the right answers. You introduced them to the kids, and it went well! While that’s great news, a background check is necessary to confirm a nanny is the right choice. Your potential nannies could have fudged details about their past, or, even worse, have a history that they kept completely hidden. Remember, a caretaker has access to your home and may come across confidential documents and details.

While unlikely, it is possible that a nanny could make you the victim of identity theft or other crimes. A proper screening should bring to light any past criminal convictions or red flags.

Where do I begin a background check?##

Have your candidates provide all the necessary information for a criminal background check. This includes a social insurence number, full name, and list of prior addresses.

Using a company like is the easiest way to proceed once you have collected the necessary information. The company you choose will make sure your candidate provided accurate information and uncover any red flags.

These basic background checks will include a cross-check against things like these:

  • Social insurence number accuracy: This check will reveal any discrepancies in name or social insurence number, or a stolen social SIN number.
  • Criminal record information: Checking for a criminal history can unveil all sorts of issues, including identity theft or violent crimes.

If a potential caretaker has a criminal record, your background check allows you to weed that candidate out of your search. On the other hand, if a background check comes back clean, it will be easier to move forward in the hiring process with confidence.

Should I still check references?##

Yes! Do not hire a nanny if you cannot check references!

While the above background check can uncover major problems, it is still a basic check. In order to get more detailed information about your nanny, you should still follow up with the nanny’s provided references.

Ideally, you should contact at least two or three parents/families with whom the candidate has performed similar duties to those you’re asking of the nanny.

If the nanny is relatively new to the profession, ask for the contact information of two or three previous employees from another industry.

Ask the references about the candidate’s####
  • Punctuality and ability to follow through on commitments
  • Interactions with children
  • General attitude
  • Willingness to complete all requested duties
  • Tendency to follow household rules

Find out if the references would be willing to hire the nanny again and if their kids were excited for the nanny to show up.

Think about the time commitment you’re requesting:

  • Will the nanny be employed full-time or part-time?
  • Do you expect the nanny to be a long-term employee?
  • Ask the reference how they think the candidate would perform in the capacity you’re hiring for.

The more you find out about a nanny now, the fewer surprises will come up later!

Have a comprehensive list of questions prepared before you call the references, but keep the mood light enough that they feel comfortable speaking candidly with you.

For more on references read: How to Check Nanny References

What else should I verify?##

If you still feel good about the nanny after talking to references and the basic background check comes back all clear, you’re almost ready to extend an offer! There are just a few other things you may want to screen.

Companies including Sterling Talent Solutions and Checkr are able to pull additional records, and we also provide some nanny background check & screening services, at

Your additional background checks may include####
  • First aid/CPR verification: In the event of an emergency, it’s important to know that your nanny can react promptly to offer aid.
  • Swimming level verification: If your nanny will be teaching your kids to swim or taking them to the beach, you should verify any swimming certifications the nanny claims to have.
  • Driving record: Your nanny will probably help drive your kids to school or play dates at some point. Make sure the nanny does not have an extensive history of at-fault accidents or other driving violations.
  • Education verification: If you want the nanny to have a degree in child development or a similar field, education verification confirms the nanny’s training.

source: The Nanny Background Checks You Should be Doing,


Background checks are useful when you’re trying to determine whether a potential caregiver should really be working with children — especially your children! That being said, a screening is not the only thing to consider when you’re choosing a nanny for your children. Remember that even a comprehensive background check should be used in combination with other screening factors, including education, experience, your gut feeling, and the candidate’s chemistry with your children.

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