CBS 2 Goes High-Tech: Who’s Watching The Kids?

In Today’s Day And Age It’s Hard To Trust Anyone, But If You Have To, Installing Surveillance Cams Advisable

By Kirstin Cole

NEW YORK (CBS) ― With both parents needing to go to work to make ends meet these days it can be nerve-racking to leave a child home with a nanny.

But now it’s cheaper and easier than ever to install a nanny cam for peace of mind.

The video CBS 2 HD obtained recently is heart-wrenching to watch. It shows children being abused by those meant to be caring for them. The abuse was captured the first day concerned parents installed a camera in their Brooklyn home.

“I really didn’t suspect anything, just doing it for peace of mind,” “Barbara” told CBS 2 HD.

Like countless parents all across the country, the child’s mother, who didn’t want to fully identify herself, called police and the nanny was arrested.

Scott Tabankin of Armonk, N.Y., also installed a monitoring system to watch over his 11-month-old daughter, Samara. For nearly a year, he saw nothing unusual but then his little girl started to act differently.”

I just started getting a bad feeling,” Tabankin said. “I gave Samara to my nanny and she latched on to me, she grabbed me, she didn’t want to go to her.”

Tabankin reviewed his tapes that night and couldn’t believe his eyes. He was outraged to see his helpless child left alone for nearly eight hours. The nanny didn’t feed or change her. She essentially disappeared.

“Put her in her crib, closed the door and left her in her crib,” Tabankin said.

He then confronted her with the tape.

“You didn’t feed her, what did you do? What did you do? And she just, her jaw dropped. She knew she was caught. She just started hysterical crying,” Tabankin said.

Fifty thousand children were reported abused by nannies or day care providers in the year 2006. That statistic alone is chilling enough to inspire many parents to install secret surveillance systems so they can always know what’s going on in their homes.

“I don’t entrust my kids with anyone but family members because of what I see and what I do,” security expert Rich Janelli said.

Janelli said today’s surveillance systems can be secretly installed anywhere.

“The molding of a door … we would install them in ceiling tile holes. A motion detector or a smoke detector or a thermostat,” Janelli said.

Once installed, you can watch live, in real time, from your office, your cell phone or just about anywhere — from a simple Teddy Bear cam you can buy online for about $60 to sophisticated equipment that starts at about $1500.

Police arrested Tabankin’s nanny on charges of child neglect. She was convicted, performed community service and now has a permanent record for any other family to see. To truly ensure your child’s safety, experts say most importantly you need to fully research a nanny’s background before leaving your children alone with one.

To help keep a watchful eye on your nanny outside the home, there are several Web sites that allow neighbors to post anonymous complaints.

Best Nanny Newsletter wants nannies to comment on the CBS 2 web site but if you cannot feel free to comment below.


  1. I am trying to find where I can comment on the CBS 2 web site because I am so angry that they created another short, negative report on this topic. The way the media always approaches this topic is negative. They never, ever explain the proper way to hire a nanny to ensure that they won’t neglect or abuse children. The media needs to include how to conduct background checks, reference checks, proper interviews so parents can ensure they have hired a great caregiver.Catching neglect or abuse AFTER THE FACT is a tragedy. That’s the worse outcome!!! Parents want to never ever have neglect or abuse occur to their kids or homes in the first place!We need to teach parents to hire caregivers secure in the knowledge that they won’t ever see more than boring footage on video surveillance.I read in this publication “Best Nanny Newsletter” once that actually the amount of kids abused by sitters and nannies is far far far less than by parents or adult relatives of the children. I think it was less than 4%. Much less likely a nanny or sitter would ever abuse or neglect a child than their own parents or grandparents.My hope is that broadcast news reporters and journalists would do more comprehensive discussions on how to protect children by properly interviewing caregivers, conducting background and reference checks, and use a reputable nanny placement agency that knows the proper questions to ask to properly screen caregivers.And don’t even get me started on the fact that we double check everything about sitters and nannies but what about the parents? I have to pay for my own background check on the parents. I don’t want to live in a home of domestic abuse or divorce and when has anyone every wanted to protect me (the nanny) before I move into another person’s home. What about when nannies see parental neglect or abuse???Shelly, Career Nanny, Roanoke VA

  2. I agree with Shelly’s comments above. It’s too late once the child is neglected or abused. Parents need to PREVENT needing a nanny cam. But, there are some stories where parents are caught by nannies actually abusing the kids. It’s smarter to spend the money used to buy nanny cams to hire an agency to help find a great nanny instead. Spend the money on background checks. Parents need to speak with references themselves and not leave all the leg-work up to the agency.Keep your nanny and child’s schedule busy and have a lot of playdates and other moms and nannies will tell you what they see.Worst I’ve ever seen from nannies is yelling or watching too much tv, both of which I see parents do it all the time too. Since it’s most nannies jobs they usually do a great job!Donna ThompsonHousehold ManagerNew Hope, Pennsylvania

  3. What is most disturbing is that parents who hire nannies and aupairs allow them to move into thier homes. You would think that before moving someone into your home you would trust them enough to not have to use nanny cams. How could anyone have someone join their family (essentially) and not trust them enough that you need to use a nanny cam? Parents should understand that if a nanny or aupair accidently finds a nanny cam in your house they will be insulted. It is hard to describe the feeling to those who havent experienced it, but it is very very insulting. I agree with the other comments that parents need to do the work before the kids are put in danger and not allow a nanny cam protect their kids.

  4. I have read on this blog that parents would do better to protect themselves by completing comprehensive interviews, diligent background checks (driver’s license, social security card, CPR/First Aid certificates, and diplomas), criminal checks (parents can perform a criminal check on a nanny candidate themselves for about $50), reference checks parents should call the job seekers references themselves to ensure the references are valid and to ask the specific questions important to the parents.And if the parent still chooses to use the nanny cams they better disclose that to the nanny or au pair so the nanny or au pair won’t be insulted. Some nannies may choose not to work for that family too. Parents must follow laws too. Keep nanny cams in public areas only and typically they cannot record sound.Michelle, Madison WI

  5. Video surveillance is everywhere so if it is legal there should not be a problem if parents use it in a legal way. Daycares allow the technology now and parents love it. They can log on their computers anytime while at work and see what is going on in the daycare. They ought to be allowed to monitor the care in their own home. As long as there is no invasion of privacy (bedrooms or bathrooms)really no big deal. I wonder if the nannies who answer angrily or defensively are guilty of some infraction? I mean I do not do anything too bad so I do not care if there is video monitoring. Just do not do anything at work you would not want your employer to see and you have nothing to worry about. What you eat or if you rest for half an hour reading a magazine or napping next to a toddler for half an hour, or watching tv while ironing are nothing to worry about.Nanny Becca Seattle

  6. One of the best perks of being a nanny is my cell phone. The parents pay for the phone and the service and have never limited my use of the phone. I am allowed to text and use the phone without being charged. I am a live-in and they felt it was cheaper to add me to their plan then to give me my separate phone line. I know some nannies would want their own private phone. But I am not calling anyone to be embarrassed about. They can see who I'm calling if they are interested. I also don't overuse the cell phone. I do typically call someone for about half an hour while the baby is napping and I eat my lunch and watch some tv while she sleeps. The parents do not have a problem with it. It is also convenient for making playdates and obviously great in case of emergency.

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