How Does A Nanny Cam Work? Everything You Should Know

Have you ever had second thoughts about leaving your children with a nanny or babysitter?

Have you found yourself unable to relax on an evening out or get work done at the office because you were too worried about what was happening with your kids at home?

Have you wished you could see more of what your children are up to during the day, simply because you miss them and don’t like missing out on a minute of their growth?

Maybe you’ve been curious about trying a nanny cam, but not sure how they even work. Look no further for the answers to all of your most pressing nanny cam questions.

So, How Does A Nanny Cam Work? Here’s The Deal With Nanny Cams.

Unattended bab

Are All Nanny Cams Hidden Cameras?

Not all nanny cams are necessarily hidden; some are exposed and obvious like a camera mounted on a wall. Out in the open cameras are a great way to deter a caretaker from doing something you wouldn’t want them to do. They know they’re being recorded and they are going to act accordingly.

Hidden cameras are placed inside a seemingly ordinary object, like a stuffed animal or a plant. It’s up to you if you want your nanny cam to be hidden or exposed. You can also decide whether to inform a caretaker of the camera’s existence or not, which brings us to our next question…

It is legal in all fifty states to install a video recording device in your home, hidden or not. Beyond that, the laws vary state by state.

Many states have video surveillance laws that prohibit recording video in private areas such as bathrooms or in your nanny’s bedroom. Some states restrict recording audio of a person without their knowledge and consent.

Before you purchase and begin using a nanny cam, find out what your rights are, and get familiar with the laws in your home state. You want to make sure you aren’t accidentally breaking the law.

Aside from legality, keep in mind that if you opt for a hidden camera and your nanny accidentally stumbles upon it, this can destroy trust and strain the nanny-parent relationship.

Adorable toddler lying down on the floor drawing using paper and pencils at kindergarten

Should You Tell Your Nanny That You Have A Nanny Cam?

After making sure that you are complying with all state laws regarding video and audio recording, it is up to you whether your nanny cam is hidden or not.

It is a big decision whether you will hide that you’ve installed video surveillance. Before you hire a caretaker for your children, you should conduct a background check and consult with references thoroughly. Even after taking those necessary steps, it’s normal to still want to be absolutely sure that you can trust the person watching over your children. Consider telling your nanny up front that you use video surveillance. This creates mutual trust, which is very important in any nanny-parent relationship.

Remember that your intention with installing a camera is to keep your children safe. You don’t want to catch someone mistreating your child or your home; you want to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Can You Watch Your Nanny Cam Footage Live?

Thanks to modern day wireless cameras, yes, you can. This way you don’t have to wait until you get home to peruse the footage and make sure your kids are being treated well.

Wireless security cameras allow you to watch a live feed on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device anywhere with a WiFi connection. You can still watch old footage after the fact as well,

How Do Nanny Cams Store Footage?

Some nanny cams record footage onto an SD card. The downside to SD cards is that the storage can fill up quickly. Once this happens, the camera will be unable to continue recording until old footage has been deleted.

If you’re after reliable 24/7 recording, you’ll need an NVR (Network Video Recorder) which records cameras wirelessly and allows you to setup an ongoing recording schedule. This enables you to both view the footage live on a device such as a mobile phone and also store the footage on a device like a computer hard drive.

One way to reserve storage space is to choose a motion activated nanny cam. These cameras will only begin recording when motion is detected in front of them. You can also setup alerts on your phone so you are notified when motion is detected. This is a great way to use nanny cams for home security as well. Motion activated cameras can alert you if something moves on your front porch or in your backyard, for example.

Can You Talk to Your Children Or Nanny Via Your Nanny Cam?

Nanny cameras with audio capabilities make it possible for you to speak to your child or nanny via the camera, usually with the assistance of a two-way talk mobile app. This can be a nice feature if you think of something you’d like to communicate to the nanny or just want to say hello to your child.

Again, you’ll need to check the laws in your state before using a nanny cam with audio. Some states only allow audio recording if the person being recorded provides written consent. You should also give your nanny a heads up about the two-way talk feature before you use it, so you don’t startle them.

What If Your Nanny Cam Runs Out Of Batteries While You’re Not Home?

Some nanny cams are battery powered and others are AC powered, meaning they are powered directly from an electrical outlet. If you want to ensure uninterrupted recording, an AC powered nanny cam is definitely the better option.

Let’s say you’re going away for the weekend and want to be able to record and watch live footage the entire time-AC powered nanny cams are definitely the way to go. AC power ensures that you don’t get into a situation where your camera runs out of battery while you’re away from home and unable to do anything about it.

Mother checking baby through baby monitor when taking a bath

Are Nanny Cams High Definition Or Grainy Like in The Movies?

HD (High Definition) videos have a higher pixel rate which results in a sharper, more detailed image. The downside of HD is that it takes up more storage space and costs more. Resolution between 720p and 1080p will give you sufficient clarity of image while still not taking up an impractical amount of storage space.

If you’re really after a high definition image, you’ll want a camera with at least 1080p.

Can Nanny Cams Capture an Entire Room or Just One Area?

If you need to capture a large room, be sure to select a wide-angle nanny camera. Paired with a pan-tilt feature, this will allow you to see all areas of the room.

There’s no sense setting up a nanny cam in your living room if your child moves out of the captured area when they sit on the couch. A large field of view is essential for a large room. Between 100 and 165 degrees is a good margin. Be aware that with certain cameras, the wider the field of view, the greater the chance of the image being blurry or low quality.

If you opt for a camera with a smaller angle, you should still consider one with a pan-tilt feature. This way you can adjust where the camera lens is pointed within the room. Do some research and select the camera that best fits your needs and your home.

Where Can You Buy a Nanny Cam?

Nowadays, you can easily buy a nanny cam online via Amazon or BestBuy. User reviews are helpful for finding out what has worked well for other people and what has not. Stores like Walmart and Target keep them in stock as well. Many home security companies will even install cameras for you.

How Can I Set My Nanny Cam Up in a Few Easy Steps?

Once you’ve decided on a camera that’s perfect for you, how do you actually use the thing?

You’ll need to install your camera in a well-lit room. Extra lamps may be necessary to supplement overhead lighting. The better your lighting is, the sharper the image will be.

  • If you’ve selected a camera with a pan-tilt feature, adjust the angle as needed until you can see the area you’d like to view.
  • Once the camera is installed, set it up with a wireless network so that you can view the footage from any device with WiFi.
  • Next, test your stream. Leave your home and make sure you can watch the livestream from a mobile device.
  • If you’ve opted for a motion activated camera, test out that feature as well. Be sure to consult the user manual that comes with your camera for specific instructions.

Final Thoughts

Remember that nanny cams should not take the place of background checks, reference interviews, or your parental instincts when it comes to figuring out if you can trust a person alone with your children. Nanny cams are a helpful tool for providing updates in real time of how your children are doing and how they are being treated.

Once you’ve found the right nanny, research the laws in your state on video and audio recording, and decided whether to talk to your nanny about video recording, you’re ready to begin using your nanny cam!

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About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

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