A start-up aims to provide parents with only the best babysitting options, writes Balqis Lim
“INFANT found dead in babysitter’s house.”
We often see such shocking and heart-wrenching headlines in the local news and it’s very disturbing to see such things happen in the first place.
With child abuse cases on the rise because of unfit babysitters, parents are now even more concerned about the safety and well-being of their child under the care of babysitters.
One man, in search of his Ikigai (a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”), has decided to step in and help mitigate the rising and worrisome issue of child abuse brought about by unfit babysitters.
This man is Peng Jun Kiat, who founded sitterLUV in January. It’s a platform that helps to match parents with genuine babysitters.
SitterLUV aims to solve critical issues that will leave a positive and sustainable impact on individuals, families, communities and society at large.
PEACE OF MIND
Peng’s initiative has already been validated by some parents. After setting up the website in March, he says many parents have signed up in their search for trustworthy babysitters.
Parents list down their requirements and then the website will filter and match them accordingly.
“Most people would look at factors such as the distance from their home, but they also have the option to engage babysitters who are located on the way to work.
“Parents will have to list down the location of their office for the platform to match them with the best babysitter.
“After a successful match, parents will meet the babysitter for an interview. Once they are satisfied, they can then proceed with the booking service.”
Besides location, other criteria that are available for parents to specify are language/medium of communication, religion, experience and more.
For now, Peng says he is vetting through a list of babysitters to be added to sitterLUV.
The safety of children is of utmost importance, thus only genuine, loving and caring babysitters and nannies will make the cut.
SitterLUV is stringent when it comes to the vetting process. It has already rejected 90 per cent of applicants wanting to be part of the platform.
The identity and background of all the applicants are checked and reviewed thoroughly.
“There’s much more to it here than just selling a product. It’s about providing a dependable and secure care service for children.
“For verification purposes, I will personally go through all the applications and engage with the babysitters and nannies personally via face-to-face interviews to get to know them better first-hand.
“Successful applicants will earn the right to call themselves #Nannypreneurs and will automatically be enrolled into our Nannypreneur Academy,” says Peng.
He says sitterLUV will incorporate a babysitter screening process or system into the platform.
“However, we are also looking into ways we can filter out those that do not have the right temperament to be a babysitter and those who are mentally unstable and who can be potentially abusive towards children to minimise the risk.
“In this regard, we are looking into incorporating personality and psychology tests into our platform to make it as secure and as safe as it can be for parents,” he said.
Besides changing the impression of the childcare sector here in Malaysia, Peng aims to promote the profession as a viable and fulfilling career option.
Nowadays, he says, even the younger generation is open to becoming babysitters and nannies.
“Although you can still find work without qualification, having an education background and experience can translate to more income.
“A young caregiver who doesn’t have any or much experience caring for children should make a serious effort to gain the necessary qualification and experience before trying to land babysitting jobs.
“Parents want to be sure that they hire the right people who not only can take good care of their children but also know how to behave around them.”
He pointed out that those who take their babysitting profession seriously will be rewarded with an exciting career through sitterLUV.
“A babysitter who prioritises professionalism and best practices is good for children and the childcare industry.
“SitterLUV’s Nannypreneur Academy is designed to help and equip babysitters with the necessary knowledge, skills set and competency to succeed in life and the childcare industry,” Peng pointed out.
The academy will teach babysitters and nannies on how to up their value. The nannypreneur courses will be delivered through webinars and e-books.
Peng revealed that they will also engage and work closely with relevant government agencies, NGOs, top academic thinkers, as well as experienced babysitters and nannies to organise training courses, seminars and lectures on improving knowledge, skills and competency.
For babysitters and nannies who have been selected to be part of the platform, they will have a profile on the website where they can list all their qualifications and other relevant experiences, such as first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) .
“We encourage home-based babysitters and nannies to go for comprehensive training programmes readily provided by the Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia (ARCPM).
“Though not compulsory, we also encourage them to get themselves vaccinated, as young infants in particular can be vulnerable to potentially serious diseases.
“Those who are vaccinated have a better chance of securing jobs and improving on their rating compared to those who are not vaccinated,” he said, adding that babysitters and nannies who are vaccinated will also improve the standards and quality within the industry.
In ensuring for the best possible service, the platform will not list the profile of a babysitter and nanny once they already have a maximum of three infants under their care.
To ensure that babysitters and nannies get their dues without any hassle or issues, sitterLUV will also help to collect payments from parents that will then be credited directly into the babysitters and nannies’ bank accounts.
“Some of them do struggle to collect payments from parents for their babysitting services.
“We want our babysitters and nannies to have peace of mind when it comes to payments.”
APP FOR SMOOTH PROCESS
According to Peng, the company is also in the midst of developing a sitterLUV app to make the process easier and more convenient while improving on the experience of engaging babysitters and nannies.
“To further enhance the platform’s safety features for the benefit of the parents, the sitterLUV app will also be equipped with safety features that utilise the latest in modern technology, such as enabling parents to monitor the interaction between the babysitter and their child through live video feed.
“Active GPS tracking will automatically alert parents via the app when their babysitter is more than one kilometre away from their registered location. Parents can then decide on the necessary action that they deem fit in the best interest of their child.
“Should an emergency situation arise, parents can immediately contact Talian Kasih, the police or call for an ambulance directly through the app with just the touch of a button,” he added.
According to Peng, social referral is also possible through the sitterLUV app, where parents can see which friends or acquaintances of theirs have previously engaged the babysitter they wish to hire.
Only parents who have prior experience in engaging a babysitter or nanny are allowed to rate and review their performance and services, hence guaranteeing that all the ratings and reviews on the platform are genuine and trustworthy.
This adds an additional layer of safety and assurance that parents can rely on, and it eliminates the possibility of questionable, dubious, unreliable referrals and reviews.