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Recent Blog Posts from Nannies from the Heart (Read the full Blog Here)

On a recent trek to the Barton Creek Greenbelt I witnessed babies, children, teens and adults frolicking in the waist-deep rapids that recent rains had brought. I glanced around and noticed not one life jacket or flotation device among the hundreds of people swimming. I was watching my own children, but quickly realized I could never have my eyes on both of them simultaneously. Then it happened: a toddler slipped on a rock and was swept downstream and rescued by a kayaker.  Everyone laughed and went their separate ways. This could have ended very differently. IMG_1129

I tell this story because I am guilty of being pressured by the situation. Neither of my children knows how to swim, and they were wading along those slippery rocks right alongside that toddler and other children. Moms, dads, nannies and other adults are usually present and I wonder if “group-think” or safety in numbers mindset had set in. I find myself in similar situations constantly, whether at a friend’s backyard pool, public pool or a lake’s shallow swim area.

streams_wadingCentral Texas is a kids’ water wonderland. Pools, lakes, streams and waterparks abound, making an ideal escape from the hot summers. However, water safety is nothing to take lightly. Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 years old in the United States. The location of drownings varies based on age. For infants, most drown in bathtubs; children ages 1-4 are usually in swimming pools; and children 5 and older mostly drown in natural bodies of water such as lakes, ponds and rivers.  (cdc.gov)

Each year, Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin sees close to 50 drowning-related cases. Some of the near drownings can result in permanent brain injury, impairment, or death of a child. At Dellchildrens.net, Safe Kids Austin and Dell Children’s offers some key considerations in keeping children safe around the water:

  1. Parental supervision with “constant eyes on.” This means no looking at cell phones, reading a book, or being engrossed in conversation. One of the biggest myths is that there will be screaming, splashing or calls for help. In reality, children 5 and under usually just slip under the water and are later found at the bottom of the pool.
  2. CPR training is a must for caregivers. It’s critical to start CPR as soon as possible after a drowning incident. The sooner it can start, the better the outcome.
  3. Use U.S. Coastguard-approved flotation devices. Arm floaties, waist tubes and other devices can be seen more as toys to children. Only the U.S. Coastguard-approved flotation devices can assist with the prevention of drowning.
  4. Take the child to the hospital, even if they only needed brief CPR. A phenomenon known as “late drowning” may have occurred, where water entered lungs and the child could die 4-8 hours later.

swim_ring_kidsMore than 1,100 fatal unintentional drownings age 0 to 19 occur in the U.S. every year. (cdc.gov). In 2008, a 4-year old boy drowned at a local Austin pool, surrounded by caregivers and lifeguards.  This prompted the launch of Colin’s Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning.  On their website is a quick Water Safety Quiz that offers some invaluable insights on drowning.

pool-628509__180Drownings can occur anywhere from a bathtub, puddle of water, kiddie pool, toilet, washing machine or a water-filled bucket. As nannies and caregivers, Nannies From the Heart hopes to help spread the word on water safety awareness to keep all children safe.

Transporting kids is not for the faint of heart. First, proper car seatback-light-253654__180 installation, buckling writhing toddlers, providing snacks and keeping focus with backseat drivers, from babies to teens, are serious jobs. Next, entrusting a nanny or other caretaker to drive children can be a big step for parents, and even more difficult to think of potential accident scenarios. However, if transporting kids to school or various activities is part of your family’s nanny agreement, be sure to do your homework

  • Family car or nanny’s car? There is no correct answer, but the clearest route is to have your nanny drive a family-owned car. With this arrangement, it is the family’s responsibility to purchase an adequate umbrella policy and to add the nanny as an additional driver.

keys-473461__180If the nanny intends to drive her personal vehicle, her insurance company would need to confirm if her usage would be considered business. Since she would be using her vehicle for nanny services and collecting a salary this may be considered business insurance. Every insurance company and policy is different, so it is critical for families and nannies both to confirm and review coverages.

If your nanny or babysitter borrows your car only occasionally with explicit verbal permission from you, they would most likely be covered through “permissive driver” provisions.  This is true for Texas, but can vary from state to state and policy to policy.  One big caveat: the driver must have a valid license. If the driver’s license of the car borrower is expired, revoked or invalid, then the insurance would not cover them.  Any accident incurred while the vehicle is on loan would likely be reflected on the primary insurance holder’s driving record as if it were their own accident.

However, some policies are more restrictive for named drivers only, and some exclude drivers under 25 years old.

  • Nanny contract provisions.  If it is in a nanny’s contract that they will be paid specifically for transporting children, then it becomes more critical that the nanny contact her own insurance company to make sure there is no exclusion in their policy that would apply for a household employee.
  • Vicarious Liability. This legal term is one of the top reasons to consult with your insurance agency about the best insurance options for your nanny and family. If an employer asks an employee to drive as a regular part of the job, it is imperative for the employer to understand their coverage — and that of their employee — because of vicarious liability.  Employers generally are vicariously liable for the acts of their employees. This means that if the nanny were to hurt someone while driving on the job, the employer may have secondary liability for damages caused by their employee. 

Nannies From the Heart encourages families and nannies to talk to their individual insurance agents to discuss their specific policies. Since policies and coverages vary so widely, there is no single insurance solution. Critical steps are talking with your insurance company and keeping your driver’s license current.

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