Should I let someone else drive my kids?
Updated: Jan 17, 2019
When my daughter was just one we had our first nanny. She was 19 years old and an Australian citizen - so she was very familiar with our traffic conditions and road rules. She would catch public transport to our house, but had shown us her driver's license.
One day as I was heading out I spontaneously told her that I'd leave the keys on the table in case there was any desperate reason why she needed to go somewhere. My intention was that it was only there as an emergency measure, which wasn't too smart of me in retrospect. She decided she 'needed' to take my daughter to the shops. The exit out of the shopping centre that she used didn't have traffic lights, so she had to use her judgement as to when to enter the road. She was about to accelerate forward when, unfortunately, she lost her nerve. In her brief moment of panic, she reversed into the car behind her.
There wasn't a great deal of damage, and my baby daughter was fortunately safely buckled in her childseat, but it still meant we had to deal with insurance and two damaged cars. The experience not only unnerved my nanny, but also me, and I honestly chose to avoid letting anyone else drive my kids until they were many years older. The experience definitely taught me some valuable lessons:
1. I would advise against someone else driving your kids if it is at all possible, because you just never know. This is especially important if your children are still tiny. I instructed all future nannies and au pairs to either walk or take my children on public transport if they wanted to go on outings. I was very explicit that whenever they were away from home that the carers were never to let my children out of their sight, and to keep them in arms reach near roads and train lines.
2. If you do choose to let your carer drive your kids, make sure your insurance provider will cover them if there is an accident. Some policies are very specific about who is allowed to drive.
3. Make sure you view and take a copy of your carer's driver's license. If from overseas, ensure that the license is still valid in Australia. Enquire thoroughly into your carer's driving history, and get references relating to their driving if possible.
4. Have a test drive with your carer before you allow them to take your kids anywhere. Make sure they are alert and confident at the wheel, aware of all the road rules, constantly keeping to the left and always abiding by the speed limit. If you have the slightest doubts about their driving ability, don't ever let them drive your kids.