With a national babysitter shortage and babysitter inflation, it’s important to hold onto your good babysitters and never let go. But what happens if someone you’ve left in charge of your precious children breaks your trust or puts your kids in danger?
Over on Reddit’s favorite forum, Am I The A—hole?, one dad reached out to the masses to ask if he was right or wrong when he angrily fired his family’s babysitter on the spot — after he discovered that she had brought her dog with her to sit his six-month-old baby without asking. Did he overreact, or was he in the right?
He explained that he and his partner had used the 20-year-old neighborhood sitter a half-dozen times without and issue, and that she came recommended by friends.
“She came over to our house, we told her our sons schedule, then headed out,” he wrote. “We were going to go out for dinner and then meet up with friends for drinks. We have 2 cameras in our house that we can access remotely to check in on our son. One is over his bed and the other is over his play area in the living room. The babysitter knows about both cameras, so it isn’t like we were spying on her.”
All was well until the doggo was spotted by his wife.
“My wife gets a notification that there is motion in the play area, she pulls it up to check in. She sees a dog sniffing our son,” he continued. “We are both like WTF. We don’t own any dogs and have no plans to ever own any dogs. We try calling, no answer, so we rush home. We go inside and the baby sitter is holding our son and there is a golden retriever just hanging out. Everyone is calm and fine.”
That’s when the conflict breaks out.
“I ask the babysitter why there is a dog in our house,” he wrote. “She says its her golden retriever and decided to bring it today. The babysitter assures us the dog is baby and kid friendly and is sweet and safe. I don’t want my son around dogs at such a young age even if they are ‘sweet’ and ‘safe.’”
Finally he loses his temper and asks her to leave and not come back — with half her pay.
“I’m getting more and more angry,” he concluded. “This was not something she was transparent about and if we knew the dog was going to be there, I would have never okayed it. I just firmly tell her to grab her dog and please leave. I inform her we won’t be using her in the future and pay her half her rate we had agreed upon, mostly since we used her less than half the time we were going to be out. She asks for the full amount. I told her no, you put my kid in danger, and you should leave. She says she did nothing wrong, but I don’t see it that way.”
In the comments, most posters agreed that although he lost his temper, it was because his kid was in potential danger — and because the sitter broke his trust.
“This was extremely unprofessional. You don’t bring a dog over to somebody’s home without permission, much less expose their six month old baby to a dog without permission. This sitter is not safe and you were right to fire them,” one person said.
Another was quick to point out that dogs and babies can be a dangerous mix.
“We don’t even let our dog directly around our baby unless one of us is right there to grab the baby or dog away if anything seems shifty,” they wrote. “And this is a dog that’s been around the entire baby’s life. What the sitter did is straight up unsafe.”
Then a dog trainer weighed in, agreeing that the dad was justified in his reaction.
“I used to be a dog trainer and specialized in dog-child interactions. There is absolutely no way in hell I would be comfortable with a strange dog in my home, with a person who has no formal training in dog-child interactions. That is how children get hurt,” they wrote. “I have also seen many people SWEAR their dog is kid-friendly, when it is obvious to my eye the dog is not. I do not trust people who aren’t trained in canine body language and behavior.”
Another added: What about potential allergies?
“Any of you could be allergic, I don’t trust ‘friendly dogs’ unless I have been around them myself because everyone thinks their dog is nice even if they are not.”
What do the experts say about dogs and infants? Child safety experts are pretty much in agreement that dogs and babies should never, ever be left alone unsupervised. No, not even for a minute. Yes, even if it’s the family’s beloved dog. There are also really specific ways that experts suggest introducing dogs to babies — and there is no way to know if the babysitter is aware of those strategies, especially if she doesn’t tell you she’s bringing her dog in the first place.
The final verdict on this one seems clear: the babysitter should have asked permission to bring her dog, for like several different reasons. And because dogs can be dangerous, it’s a fireable offense. Case closed on this pup.