Sam and Jessica Yaun hired their 23-year-old nanny through a major online childcare service called Sittercity.com. The father, Sam Yaun checked her references and verified her resume. With a four-year work history at the company, everything appeared picture perfect, literally. Constance Smith had reportedly taken care of very challenging children in the past, including children with medical histories, including, Autism and Downs Syndrome.
Parents can never be too careful when allowing someone into their home. The home is a safe place for both children and adults, and extremely careful consideration is necessary, before allowing anyone to enter this sacred space. It is insignificant really, whether the person is a friend of the family, repairperson, or employee of the homeowner, such as a nanny or housekeeper; all three are capable of harming our children.
As parents, they were meticulous in their pre-screening hiring of their nanny. They did everything right, checking references and using an established company. Sadly, they soon noticed emotional and behavioral changes in their 13-month-old son. Since it was 3 months since the nanny began working for them 3days a week, they were unsure if it had anything to do with the changes in their son, so they decided to set up a hidden camera or a nanny cam to see how she interacted with their son when they were absent.
The father hid the nanny cam, which included a microphone inside a stereo speaker in the living room. Within one hour after the hidden camera began documenting the day in the life of their nanny, the parents saw their nanny slap their little boy across his face, then push him down, and pinch him on the leg, as he cries at the bottom of the stairs. They never expected to see their nanny physically hurting their son.
The couple called police and the video became police evidence. The nanny cam video is in police custody, and not for public viewing, in order to protect the integrity of their court case and the identity of their son. The Cherokee County Sheriff Department arrested Constance Smith on felony charges of cruelty to children in the first degree. She has since bonded out of jail after posting a $22,000 bond.
Ironically, Sam works for a home theater company and Jessica asked her husband to video tape the nanny when she was initially hired. At that time, Sam refused as he felt she was interacting well with their son and that video taping her in secret would be a violation of her trust. Today, Sam Yaun would do things differently. Sam Yaun recommends parents definitely invest the time and money in a nanny cam to see what is taking place in their home, especially in a situation where a child is simply too young to effectively communicate to adults if something bad or frightening is happening to them.
No one but a 13-month-old child and a nanny knows what happened three days a week for three months before the parents followed their gut instincts and set up a nanny cam. What they saw was a nanny terrorizing and physically abusing their toddler. Thankfully, for this little boy his horror has ended. Yet many children are alone with a sitter, a hired nanny, and a family member that a parent trusts everyday. A word of caution, simply because a family member is watching your child, does not mean your child is safe. Often it is the people closest to us that are most likely to hurt us, and we suspect the least.
Does your child need a nanny cam? Do you wonder why the bright happy go lucky toddler or baby now is moody and clingy? Has a toddler begun to have night terrors and you do not know why? Are there unexplainable bruises on your child after the sitter leaves that never happen when your child is in your care? Is your child to young to tell you what happens to him or her during the day or night when left alone with the sitter? Is your toddler not allowed to play with certain favorite noisy toys when the sitter is around? Does the sitter refuse to your child his or her favorite stuffie?
If you answered yes to any one of the questions listed above, it is possible that a caregiver is mistreating your child when you are away from him or her. Follow your instinct, listen to your heart, and does what you feel is necessary to make sure that the people in your home or around your child are safe people. Remember to check the National Sex Offender Registry before allowing any hired person into your home, especially if he or she will work unsupervised. Remember women are also sex offenders.