Babysitting Solutions — The Modern Way

You need a babysitter. It’s getting late. Your regular — and your 2 back-ups — have not responded to voicemail or texts.

It’s a scene every Westporter who has — or had — kids can relate to.

Who you gonna call?

Starting soon, no one.

You won’t need to call. There’s an app for that.

Bambino Sitters is the brainchild of Sean Greene. Last year, the California single father of 3 realized while driving around his neighborhood, worrying about a sitter for that night, that behind many doors were sitters eager for work.

He just did not know who they were. And they did not know him.

Greene’s app could be called “the Uber of babysitting.” After downloading it to your iPhone or iPad, you create a profile as “sitter” or “parent.”

If you’re a sitter, you set your own schedule and update your availability.

Two screens for sitters...

Two screens showing sitters…

If you’re a parent, you sign in via Facebook. That allows you to see friends in your neighborhood — and which nearby sitters they love.

You don’t have to text 20 sitters. You just punch in “6-10 p.m., Thursday night,” and send a request to the sitters you (or your friends) like. When someone responds, it’s a match made in babysitting heaven.

The app tracks the time a sitter spends at work. All payment is done through the app too, so there’s no fishing around for money or change.

...and 2 for parents.

…and 2 for parents to click on. Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Last summer, Greene launched Bambino Sitters in Pacific Palisades. He’s since rolled it out to Santa Monica, Brentwood and several other neighborhoods.

So what — besides similar demographics — does this Southern California story have to do with Westport?

Bambino Sitters’ director of marketing is Sara Snow. She’s Greene’s friend, and former neighbor.

For the past year and a half, Snow has lived in Westport. She came East for her husband’s job. (Why Westport? Her college friend Missy Zahler lives here, and sold Snow on it.)

Sara Snow (upper right), with her children and mother. With Bambino Sitters, mom won't always have to babysit!

Sara Snow (upper right), with her children and mother. With Bambino Sitters, mom won’t always have to babysit!

This area will be the first national extension of the app. It goes live here over the next few days.

Katie Hill serves as Westport’s launch director. She moved here with her husband and 3 elementary school-aged kids. She’s a natural — as both a user and an executive.

Once Westport and Fairfield County are Bambino Sitter-ized, it will be rolled out in other towns and cities nationwide.

It’s a great app for any area with anxious parents and eager sitters. In other words, almost everywhere.

But we’ve got it (almost) first.

13 responses to “Babysitting Solutions — The Modern Way

  1. Wow that’s a lot of trust to place in an app! I realize there are reviews a la Yelp (anonymous, I assume), but getting an abusive or neglectful babysitter can be a tad more serious than a bad meal.

    • Peter, as a father myself, I completely appreciate your concern, which is why creating a community approach is one of the founding principles behind Bambino. There are other babysitting apps and services out there that provide either directories of sitters or third party vetting solutions. They feel cold and are hard to connect with emotionally. With Bambino, we provide a private social network where friends and neighbors can connect with trusted nearby sitters. It’s all about recommendations from friends and neighbors as opposed to anonymous referrals from strangers. We don’t believe you should be placing your trust in the app, but instead in your friends and neighbors. And, we’ve attempted to make the whole process a lot easier by bringing these trusted neighborhood sitters together into one place. Hopefully you’ll never again have to sit out a dinner with friends or an event in your community just because you couldn’t find or get through to a fabulous sitter.

      • Thanks for reply. I’m a soon-to-be grandfather, so interested in this topic. As I gather from your site, signup is via Facebook, and Facebook doesn’t verify identities except in the case you report yours was hacked, in which case they suspend your account and require ID to reopen it.

        So isn’t it possible that I might see a babysitter who says he’s local,but aren’t, and names of recommenders who appear to be local, but aren’t. In fact, could not someone up to no good come up with online identities that sound like neighbors or friends…and even download photos from the web of real people to make the scam more convincing?

  2. Monika Lazaro

    Who screens these sitters for experience, skill and safety? It is one thing to Uber yourself to the train station, another to leave your kids with a new, last minute sitter, based on an app review…

    • Hi Monika! Like you, I would not feel comfortable leaving my kids with a new sitter without some personal connection to them. Having spent many years in Fairfield County (in fact my daughter was born in Norwalk Hospital), I have a great appreciation for the tight communities in the area. When I needed a sitter, I asked my friends and neighbors for recommendations as opposed to going online. With Bambino, we’ve tried to emulate that process by showing you nearby sitters, as well as who has recommended them and how you might be connected.

  3. Beth Orlan Berkowitz

    Who does a background check on these sitters? How do you vet them as responsible, qualified, stable and trustworthy sitters? Do the sitters need to submit any background information or letters of recommendation? People are entrusting their most precious people to their care.

    I agree it’s a great app to be able to find sitters and for them to find jobs, but is it safe for both sides? How does a sitter know it’s a real job and not just a scam home that someone is luring them to in order to abuse or kidnap or something even worse?

    I hate to be a downer, but before using something like this I would want to know how it is regulated or vetted for both sides.

    • The answer is to be found in their FAQ, the relevant info appearing below. Read carefully — the actual answer is buried, starting at word # 125 out of 160 words!

      (And, the answer is NO: “Bambino does not conduct background checks or otherwise screen users of the app or website in anyway (sic)”

      Talk about trust!

      Q. Do you background check the sitters?

      “Our community is built on the goal of connecting neighborhood Parents with neighborhood Sitters. Bambino is a tool to make these connections easier and more convenient. We believe strongly that trust is best gained through physical and social proximity and we strive to create a community that relies on its neighbors and friends for verification, not a corporate certification process.
      For any of our Sitters to join, they must receive a recommendation from at least two parents. When Parents are selecting a Sitter, we encourage them to see what Sitters their friends have used, read the Sitter reviews, and make an informed decision.
      Parents have always relied on their friends’ recommendations to select Sitters and with Bambino, it is no different—just more convenient! Bambino does not conduct background checks or otherwise screen users of the app or website in anyway, so we always encourage our families to contact their friends should they have any additional questions about the Sitters.”

      • Peter, thank you for looking into our services. We are relatively new and as you might expect, we’re constantly evolving and improving our service. We recently rolled out a process whereby we do background check sitters on a voluntary basis at no cost to the sitters. Clearly we neglected to update our FAQ’s and will be doing so today! Thank you again!

        • Glad I can help. I do wish you success in the biz, but obviously trust is a big issue online these days.

  4. Hi Beth! You’ve brought up some very important questions. Sitters 18 years and over have the option of submitting for a background check, which we pay for. When they do, we verify their identity, check them against the Sex Offender Registry and Global Watchlist, and, check them against national and county criminal records. If they clear all the checks, they get an icon on their profile signifying that they’ve been cleared. If they don’t, they won’t appear on the app at all. In addition, every sitter must have a recommendation prior to going live. As part of that process, both sitters and parents login with Facebook, which allows us to show users how they are connected. These connections are equally important for the safety of the families as well as the sitters. In addition, as another means of verifying a parent’s identity, payment information is required prior to booking a sitter, which allows us to verify a parent’s billing address, and all payments are handled through the app after the sit. We like to think of Bambino as a means for modernizing the way we, as parents, have always found a sitter while making it a whole lot easier. We believe that the best means of trust for sitters and parents is through personal recommendations from people you know, and we’re simply facilitating that exchange.

  5. Thank you all for your comments and your interest. Bambino is up and running (very well!) in Westport and we’d love to offer a promo code to anyone wanting to give Bambino a try. Use code WOOG40BACK for $40 back after you book your first sit.

  6. Great concept! Best of luck!