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Hidden nanny cameras were invented to capture parent nightmares on film, and they work. Last month, a babysitter in California, 20 years old, was caught suffocating a baby, 13 months, who would not stop crying as she tried to put him to bed.
The babysitter has since been charged with felony child abuse and ordered to stay away from children, according to KRON 4 local news in Livermore. She got her gig on Care.com. Is the website liable to parents?
Caught on Camera
The baby in the criminal case out of California is referred to as "Doe," and the description of what happened to him is disconcerting. The police report describes what officers saw on film.
The hidden nanny camera in the baby boy's room allegedly shows the babysitter, Moriah Gonzales, trying to put the boy down for a nap. "Moriah then placed her hands closer to Doe's face and the sounds went from clear and audible to a muffled cry," states the police report.
It continues: "After a few seconds, Doe began to squirm and kick. He then went limp. Once Doe went limp, Moriah lifted him up and flung him over her shoulder in a supine position, the back of his head resting on her shoulder. When Moriah moved her hands away from Doe's face, clear and audible crying/whimpering could once again be heard."
Can Care Be Sued?
Care.com is, in its own words," the world's largest online destination for care." The company connects caregivers and people in need of services of all kinds. Whether pet-sitting, house-sitting, or babysitting, it can find someone to watch what you care about while you cannot. But it is quite clear about the fact that it takes no responsibility for the actions of the people it connects through the site.
On its website, Care writes, "We connect families with great caregivers and caring companies to help you be there for the ones you love. " But, it also has a disclaimer disavowing any responsibility for the connections made on the site, writing, "Care.com does not employ, recommend or endorse any care provider or care seeker nor is it responsible for the conduct of any care provider or care seeker."
So That's It?
Just because Care disclaims responsibility for the connections made does not mean that it will escape blame. Parents can technically still sue Care.com and claim that it was negligent in some aspect of its service. But whether the claim will succeed is another question.
If your child has been injured in the care of another, speak to a lawyer. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to assess your claim.