When Nannies Drive the Kids: Best Practices and Laws

When Nannies Drive the Kids: Best Practices and Laws

By A New England Nanny 30 0

nannies drive kidsWhile some families choose to have their nanny stay in the house with the kids all day, many choose to let their nanny take their kids out, be it to the movies, a park, sports practices, or any other appointment or activity. Families need to decide how the nanny will transport the children – will the nanny use her own car, or will she use a family vehicle?

The overall goals when your nanny drives the kids are to make sure your children stay safe, ensure that you or your nanny have adequate insurance in case of an accident, and to know how to properly handle gas and other expenses. Depending on what arrangement you make, there are different rules and regulations to consider.

Is Your Nanny a Good Driver?

If you hired through a nanny agency, they will have checked the nanny’s DMV records for traffic violations, convictions, accidents, suspensions, and license expirations for a least the last three years. If you hired on your own, you should ask the nanny to obtain her records, which is available from the state DMV, possibly for a small fee.

Alternatively, you can ask your auto insurance company to run a motor vehicle report using your nanny’s driver’s license. It won’t be as comprehensive as a DMV report, but you’ll see any traffic violations, conviction dates, and accidents, and the insurance company probably won’t charge you.

Before hiring the nanny, if you plan to have her drive the children, you can ask her references about any driving-related issues.

If you are exceptionally cautious, taking a test drive with your nanny to experience her skills is another way to feel confident about letting her chauffeur the kids.

What Will the Driving Rules Be?

In the work agreement or contract, any driving rules or requirements should be detailed, such as making sure all speed limits are followed, texting while driving is prohibited, no talking on the phone (or hands-free only), and whether any other passengers besides the kids are allowed in the car. You can also determine to which locations the children can be driven, with the option of adding to that list as necessary.

Confusion and miscommunication can be avoided by including these details in the paperwork, and it ensures you and your nanny are on the same page.

Should My Nanny Drive My Car?

Having your nanny drive a family car is ideal when it comes to safety – you are in charge of the vehicle’s maintenance so you know the shape your car is in. If the nanny will drive your car, you need to add her to your insurance policy, for which you’ll need to send your insurance carrier a copy of her license. Make sure you review coverage options with your insurance company, even if the nanny will only be driving your car occasionally. There could be a slight increase to your premium for nannies who are younger or have incidents on their driving record.

Should My Nanny Drive Her Own Car?

Safety is the name of the game. If you want your nanny to use her own car, step one is to make sure her vehicle has passed state inspection. If you want to pay to have a mechanic look at her car, that could be beneficial as well.

If your children are still in car seats, there are many concerns to keep in mind. The nanny’s car must be able to accommodate the size of the car seats and the nanny must know how to ensure the children are seated in them correctly and securely. If the seats will be removed after the nanny’s shift and then replaced on her next shift, she must know how to install them correctly.

Another safety measure to take is to make sure the nanny’s car isn’t messy and has any items that could fly up and injure the children.

What Kind of Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

If your nanny driving her car and has an accident, the nanny’s medical payments coverage and bodily injury limit on her own policy would cover any injuries to the children. While coverage for bodily injury varies by state and is sometimes as low as $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident, that may not cover the cost of a serious accident. You will want your nanny to have adequate liability insurance coverage in case the children sustain any injuries in an accident.

Ask for a copy of your nanny’s insurance card before she drives the kids anywhere. Check it periodically to ensure it stays valid and coverage doesn’t lapse.

What if My Nanny Gets Hurt in an Accident?

Your workers’ compensation insurance carrier and the auto insurance company (your or hers depending on which car she was driving) will need to be notified of an incident. Remember workers’ comp is required for household employers in New York. Your workers’ comp policy would cover your nanny’s injuries and any lost wages if she misses work, because she was injured while on the job.

Do I Need to Reimburse My Nanny for Gas and Mileage?

Your work agreement should detail any reimbursement arrangements for when your nanny is driving her own car.

If your nanny is driving a family car, it’s advisable to reimburse her if she buys gas or has to pay for parking or tolls.

The standard mileage rate issued by the IRS calculates the cost of gas, maintenance, and depreciation. You can abide by that rate or set your own. If you will be reimbursing, your nanny should keep a detailed log of the mileage and gas she uses.

You could consider flat-rate compensation if your nanny will drive a consistent number of hours or miles each week. This rate would be calculated to cover her expenses every week. But if anything changes – she’s driving more miles or the cost of gas increases – make sure you adjust her compensation.

Neither you nor your nanny will have to pay taxes on gas and mileage reimbursements, as it is not taxable compensation.

For more information, contact us at (518) 348-0400.

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