If you can swipe and tap a take-out dinner or a ride into existence, why not a babysitter? That’s the premise behind Hello Sitter, an app that connects New York City parents with sitters on demand. But as with all things childcare, the first thing parents want to know is if the new app, which launched last Wednesday, is safe.
Whether you’re looking a week out or need a sitter the same day, Hello Sitter promises a roster of “carefully curated,” “fully vetted,” and “fully fantastic sitters” serving areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn. There’s no minimum booking time and you pay the babysitter through the app. The app seems intended for parents with last-minute emergencies and no cash on hand. And unlike the actual Uber, there’s no surge pricing.
But the booking process may be too quick for some parents’ taste.
As Meredith Carroll of Babble points out, “it’s hard to imagine that finding the ‘right’ sitter can be synonymous with ‘fast.’” The New York Post puts it more bluntly, with a story headlined “The ‘Uber of babysitting’ is creeping some parents out.”
The app’s founder, Lauren Mansell — a mother herself — told The New York Post that her team has “people who want to meet the sitter first for an hour before leaving.”
That doesn’t seem overprotective; it seems wise for tasking a stranger with your children’s well-being. Yet Hello Sitter assures parents that its sitters are thoroughly vetted.
According to Hello Sitter’s website, most of the sitters on the app belong to a decade-old boutique agency, so these people really are pros. Any sitter who didn’t come to the platform via the agency goes through a rigorous interview process, has their professional references verified, undergoes a background check, and even has their social media presence thoroughly investigated. At this time, there 200 sitters, most of whom are women.
“The Today Show” featured the app last week and touched upon some of the aforementioned safety concerns:
Hello Sitter may only have 100 likes on Facebook thus far, but who’s to say the app isn’t the future of big city childcare? Or will parents be too nervous for it to catch on? If you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn, do you think you’ll try it?