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Ask A Pittsburgh Expert: How To Find The Perfect Babysitter

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Finding the perfect babysitter can be challenging — do you trust Craigslist, or the dozens of other odd-job search tools out there? Do you pay a premium for subscription sites with prescreened individuals, like Sittercity and Do you endlessly search for referrals and word-of-mouth from family, friends, and co-workers? In a nutshell, yes, but don't search harder— search smarter.

Erin 'Heaps' Tobias

And she's back! From maven of the night scene, to mistress of the daycare set, Ms. Erin 'Heaps' Tobias has graciously agreed to be interviewed yet again. Not only can she sling a mean martini and remember your favorite wing flavor with her eyes closed, she can also single-handedly change a diaper, heat up a gluten-free lunch, and tie shoes in her home-based nursery. For the past five years, Erin has been operating a warm, welcoming daycare out of her east suburban home for children aged six weeks and up, and has sat down with CBS Local to share her best tips for locating and securing a trustworthy, reliable babysitter.

Utilize Websites, Such As Sittercity Or

It may seem like a no-brainer, but oftentimes parents forget about these super-handy, safe sitter websites. Local applicants are prescreened, and each profile contains whether the potential candidate has their FBI and child abuse clearances, fingerprints and background checks available for perusal. Members of the site even get a photo and bio of their chosen candidate to verify a comprehensive fit before their initial meeting. These websites charge a membership fee, which is payable in one, three or 12 month installments.

Related: Best Places For Kids' Summer Art Activities In Pittsburgh


Ask around! It's a certainty to be hooked up with a reliable sitter by simply talking to coworkers, classmates, neighbors and friends in your community. Make it known that you're in the market for an outstanding nanny (or manny), and give plenty of details about the job. The more descriptive you are in your needs, the better. Soon, applicants will be lined up, and you'll have your pick of the litter.

Join A Meetup Group is a great way for likeminded people to come together in their communities and bond over their shared love of wine, books, hiking, or whatever else strikes their fancy. Plenty of SAH parent groups exist — join one or many, and meet similar parents like you. Do a babysitting swap, where one night you take certain kids, and then the family repays the favor to you. Bonus: playdates are always the norm, and this is a great way to socialize your kiddos.

Barter Services

It's likely that you're an expert in your field. Are you a CPA? A hairdresser, or baker? Perhaps you're an excellent artist, or your husband is a certified plumber or electrician. Whatever it, use it to your advantage. Tobias loves this idea, and currently has an active barter going on with one of her kids' moms — the mom owns a housekeeping company, and cleans Tobias' house in exchange for a few hours of babysitting a week. Put the word out, and soon you'll have plenty of offers to babysit!


Join a Facebook group, or make it known on your social media account that you're in need of a sitter. Chances are, some or most of your followers are known friends and acquaintances, and you're sure to get at least of handful of reliable names from these trusted sources. You can even use this person as a reference and cut out some of the tedious interview work. It's a win-win for everyone.

Related: Educational Summer Activities For Kids In Pittsburgh

Nikki Tiani-Moroney is a full time mum of two boys, wife of a professional poker player/photographer/amateur pencil-sharpening competitor and writer from Pittsburgh, PA. When she isn't studiously neglecting her housework in favor of a good book, she's out simultaneously fighting crime and picking up sidewalk litter while savoring an occasional cigarette. Her work can be found at

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