Babysitting Nightmare

Dear Emily, 
I’m in my early 20’s and have been a nanny/babysitter since I was 13. I recently started watching two little kids. A boy who is 4, almost 5, and a little girl who is 2. I got the referral from a babysitting service. The first time I watched them I walked into the house and immediately smelled feces. The house was filthy, flies everywhere, trash, the kitchen was filled with dishes that seemed like they had been there for a month. The mom was super nice and seemed very loving so I just assumed she had a hard weekend and hadn’t gotten around to cleaning up. When she left I noticed that the son was wearing a diaper, which is unusual for an almost five year old. I asked him if I could change his diaper and he said no. It was full and really gross. His toenails were also super long and dirty. He seemed like he hadn’t had a bath in a few days. The bathroom was filled with full diapers, maybe 75, I’m not exaggerating. I ended up just taking them to the park the whole time because the house smelled so bad I couldn’t be in it anymore. It seems like the kids are neglected, even though the mom is super nice and loving. The home was unsafe, I had to move things around so that the little girl could play without things falling over on her. The mom wants me to babysit next weekend and I don’t know what to do. She paid me very well and they live in a nice neighborhood, but I can’t work there again.

I’m sorry you endured two hard babysitting shifts. I’ve nannied and babysat since I was 10, and I’ve been in a somewhat similar situation. I’m glad that these kids are getting the love they need, but it seems like they might be in a messy situation. Kids sitting in dirty diapers all day can lead to infections and urinary problems.

I think your saving grace here is that you went through a babysitting service. Call your point person there and ask what the protocol is for this situation. If they think that the circumstances call for CPS, then you may need to contact them. You can make it anonymous, but be ready to give all the needed info. You mentioned that you felt it was unsafe, so describe why you thought that. A note on CPS, they don’t want to take kids away. That’s their last resort. They want to make sure that kids are safe and that parents have all the available resources to make sure the children are healthy and happy.

However, most of the time CPS won’t take calls just for a dirty house and dirty diapers. If you feel uncomfortable babysitting there again, be honest and tell the service. You can ask that they find someone else. They most likely have guidelines for something like this, and they may even be able to help the parents out with a cleaning service.

With a big hug and also Clorox wipes,





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