Are Nanny Cameras Legal in Your State?

06/27/2018
by Scotsman Shield
Nanny Cameras Legal?

Hiring a nanny often marks the first time that parents will be separated from their child.

The risks of leaving your child alone with someone new are real. With the news broadcasting nanny-horror stories, people are generally more cautious when hiring babysitters than they used to be.

That being said, most nannies have the best intentions and are excellent with children. It's crucial to trust whoever you hire, but to do so, you might need a little help. In search of peace of mind, parents have taken to installing nanny cameras in their homes.

Nanny cameras are an excellent tool, but there are a few considerations that you have to make before installing one. Both with legal and ethical implications, the use of a nanny camera can do damage to relationships and even get you in legal trouble.

Here's how.

What You Need to Know About Nanny Cameras

The data shows that childcare providers, while positive influences in the vast majority of cases, do have the potential to abuse children. Whether the abuse is physical or otherwise, the safety of a child is of the utmost importance. Daycares and schools are typically safeguarded against such abuse, but the privacy of a home is a different story.

If you're at all concerned about the safety of your child, a nanny camera or two in your home is a great idea. It will give you the peace of mind that your child is safe and your nanny is ethically doing their job.

But there are some legal complications if you take the wrong steps, not to mention that a nanny might be offended by the presence of a camera, leading them to quit or damage your relationship.

So, what do you need to know about the legality of nanny cameras?

Nanny Cameras are Legal in All 50 States

Wherever you live in the United States, installing a nanny camera is going to be alright in the eyes of the law. This means that you can install and use the camera without the consent of your nanny.

You cannot, however, install cameras in the private areas of your home. For example, the bathroom is off limits. It's also illegal to install a camera in a room that the nanny will be staying overnight in. This is more relevant if you have a live-in nanny or something similar.

People typically have a few cameras in place around the house. The most common play areas and frequently used rooms are safe bets.

Recording Audio May Be a Different Story

While the video aspect of nanny cameras is legal to capture without consent, audio may be a different story depending on which state you live in. These rules are well known among journalists and reporters, as they deal with the legality of recording and publishing information about unknowing parties.

Consent is a huge factor when it comes to recording audio. With the consent of the person involved, you can record any conversation. That consent must be explicit and not implied.

Consent is implied, however, when a face-to-face interview is happening, and the camera is obvious. So, if the recording device is in plain sight, the consent of each party is implied because they almost definitely understand the situation at hand.

35 states in the U.S. allow you to record a conversation without consent. That means that if you live in one of those states, you can record both audio and video of your nanny without them knowing that a camera and recorder are even in place.

The states that don't allow this are Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Washington, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Maryland, Illinois, Connecticut, Hawaii, Delaware, Louisiana, Oregon, and Florida. The states mentioned above prohibit the recording of private conversations without consent.

Should You Tell Your Nanny?

While installing a nanny cam is an effective way to make sure your child is safe, you should also consider the idea that your relationship with the nanny is essential. You are entirely justified in purchasing a device that keeps your child safe, and you have no firm obligation to tell the nanny that you have one.

With that in mind, the person watching your child may feel violated and insulted if they find out they have been recorded. Of course, if the nanny knows there is a camera in the house, it kind of defeats the purpose of a secret camera in the house.

But you may lose a really great nanny if they don't appreciate the fact that they're being watched. There are a couple of options you can take when you're faced with the ethics of having a nanny cam.

Tell Your Nanny About a Camera

Disclosing the location of your camera is counterintuitive to the idea of nanny cameras. The idea is that you should be able to see your child and nanny in their natural relationship, without the knowledge of being watched.

You can still achieve this by telling your nanny that there is a camera somewhere in the house. This way, the person won't feel like they are constantly being watched, and you still get the comfort of knowing that the interaction between the nanny and your child is genuine.

Install a Camera Until Trust is Solidified

Try having a nanny cam in place until you've seen enough interaction between the sitter and your child to know that your baby is in safe hands. This is a way to make sure you maintain the relationship with good nannies, not risking the loss of a great asset should they find the hidden camera.

Secure Your Family in Any Way Possible

Nanny cameras are a good step in the direction of safety, but there are a lot of other ways to safeguard you and your family from danger. As a parent, it's your responsibility to be prepared and able to protect your family.

If you're looking for new and intelligent ways to protect your family from danger, we would be happy to help you. You can also browse our collection of wireless nanny cams to find something that suits your needs.

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