Babysitters are a parent’s secret weapon when it comes to balancing family, career, and personal life. But finding qualified child care professionals can be challenging—especially those who are available to provide childcare when and where you need it. People are busy, it’s hard to personally find and vet potential sitters, and then there’s the panic of what to do in a last-minute sitting emergency. Regardless of how long you have to plan in advance, nobody wants finding a babysitter to be their part-time job. Luckily, with modern technology, it doesn’t have to be!
Babysitting apps can help you cut down on the time it takes to find a sitter near you, when and where you need it. Such apps have become more and more popular because of the convenience they offer. But they all take slightly different approaches to finding a babysitter that’s right for you. Various apps do different levels of vetting, service, and subscription rates. It’s important to know the differences, so you can find the one that matches what your family prioritizes in looking for a babysitter.
By far the most recognizable name in family tech, Care.com is the oldest sitter website online. It offers not only child care services but also other household services, like pet-sitting, house cleaning and other forms of domestic help. They offer the largest selection of potential sitters available online — but beware. Most of the sitters and daycare centers on Care.com have NOT passed any sort of background check, which has resulted in some tragic consequences for families. So if you use Care.com, plan to run your own thorough background check and carefully check references. Care.com does not support on-demand babysitting services. It’s best to use Care.com only when you’re looking for a long-term nanny or babysitter and are prepared to conduct your own due diligence on their background. (We’ve discussed why babysitter background checks are important separately.)
- Various types of care services offered (not just child care)
- Largest listing of potential babysitters and nannies on the internet
- Lets you post jobs and communicate with babysitters and nannies
- Care.com didn’t add a background checking requirement until 2019, so the vast majority (over 90% in most cities) of sitters are NOT background checked at all.
- Babysitters offering specialized child care are hard to come by.
- Calendar and scheduling options are difficult to navigate.
- 24-hour notice is needed for each booking so it is not suitable for on-demand babysitting needs.
UrbanSitter is a monthly subscription service that helps families find babysitters and nannies with whom they share a connection through organizations like schools and clubs. It is very similar to Care.com, except that they now require that all sitters on their platform have a basic background check. (See our separate post for more on the different types of background checks.) Like Care.com, in addition to functioning as a babysitting app, UrbanSitter offers tutors, pet care and senior care experts.
- Lets you connect with sitters connected to your community.
- All sitters have a basic background check.
- Relies on crowdsourced information which can greatly limit the reliable reviews on sitters in your area.
- Customers can only review sitters by connecting their Facebook account, which can sometimes be a privacy concern.
- Available vetted sitters in most cities is limited. Best for use in California and New York.
Similar to Care.com and UrbanSitter, the Sittercity babysitting app serves as a repository of local child care, senior care, and pet care professionals. However, instead of browsing for sitters or creating a booking request, you post a job listing with specifications and sitters will apply. Once they apply, you can then check sitters’ profiles, ratings, and reviews. You may also facilitate interviews with prospective sitters directly through the babysitting app.
- Parents can create job listings with specific requirements.
- Special needs caregivers available
- Unlike Care.com and UrbanSitter, SitterCity still does not require ANY form of background check for sitters on their platform. You can request a background check through their platform, but a full check costs $60 per sitter.
- The platform cannot process payments to caregivers, so you have to pay in cash or via Venmo or Zell.
- You have to wait for sitters to respond to your job listing, which may or may not happen quickly (or at all).
4. Call Emmy
Call Emmy is a free all-in-one babysitting app that allows you to book a sitter near you on demand. All babysitters must be thoroughly background checked, and must pass a skills test and a psychological test to be on the app. You can filter sitters to see those who have qualifications you need. Whether you are looking for sitters with special needs experience, CPR and first-aid certification, or can speak different languages fluently. Then you can put together “shortlists” of babysitters who seem like a good fit for your family. When you need a babysitter, you can send your booking request to your own shortlist or to all available sitters in your area.
Call Emmy has thousands of babysitters nationwide, available on-demand, with highest concentrations in major cities but with sitters in almost every metro area in the U.S.
Call Emmy also comes with a built-in chat feature so you can easily talk with your sitter throughout the booking process, and sitters can send pictures and updates throughout the engagement.
Finally, Call Emmy’s StayCare feature offers an affordable option for finding babysitters and nannies for longer-term arrangements.
- Book babysitters on demand
- No minimum number of hours
- Same-day booking available for emergencies and last-minute babysitting needs
- Fully vetted babysitters
- Rates are standardized based on location—parents and sitters can’t negotiate prices
Bambino is a babysitting app that lets parents share their favorite babysitters and find and book other sitters near them. Bambino lets parents connect with sitters and, once connected, make booking requests that can be scheduled and paid for through the app. But be advised: they rely on community vetting ONLY, and don’t run any background checks (even if you’re willing to pay extra). Bambino is best for those who are not concerned with background checks or vetting, but are comfortable putting their trust into the judgment of other parents and sitters within their community.
- Lets you book sitters recommended by your friends.
- Lets you book younger / less experienced sitters for a reduced rate.
- Entirely designed around the app experience.
- Does not require or even facilitate background checks or any other form of background or skills-based vetting.
- Services are only available through the app, making it inconvenient for parents who don’t always have their phones with them.
- Babysitters that have been reported by parents may not appear as “under investigation” in real-time.
Pricing: $2.95 booking fee per booking
Komae is a unique babysitting app: it focuses on cooperative child care. Users create a “Sitter Village” with fellow parents in their neighborhood, family, or school networks. Instead of paying cash for services, parents exchange “Komae points,” which can only be earned by babysitting for other parents on the platform. Users can post jobs or their availability on the platform so as to connect with their entire village at once.
- Free childcare as the app focuses on cooperative care
- Cultivates trusted care groups
- Available sitters are not necessarily certified child care professionals
- Only available as an app so it may be inconvenient for parents who don’t always have their phones with them
- Not as helpful if you don’t have an established network of parents in the area
Helpr is a backup child care app created for working parents who need on-demand babysitting services. Whether you have an extended workday, need to attend a conference, or simply need help on your sick day, the platform has childcare professionals of all ages and specializations to help you find a sitter that matches your requirements. While Helpr started as an open marketplace app, it is now available only to parents whose employers offer Helpr as a child care benefit.
- Availability of on-demand babysitting services is convenient for busy parents.
- All sitters on the platform are background checked and have at least two years of childcare experience.
- Helpr is no longer available to individual parents — only to parents whose employers offer Helpr as a childcare benefit.
- Service availability is currently limited to select cities in California, New York, Georgia, Illinois, and Washington.
Find the Ideal Babysitting App for Your Childcare Needs
A babysitting app is a great tool to have at your disposal no matter your child care needs. Be it a regularly scheduled nanny to watch your kids every day while you’re at work or a one-and-done sitter for a party, these platforms can find you the right child care professional. While each has its pros, cons, and unique business structures or features, all of the above-mentioned platforms offer quality service. Find a childcare platform that offers the best combo of pricing, vetting, and flexibility for you, and meet your (and your child’s) new favorite babysitter today.