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Monday, December 06, 2004

Finding a sitter online

More and more parents are turning to the Net for a night out, the Washington Post reports. Pointing to sites like,,, and Chicago-based (the largest, which boasts a database of 15,000 sitters in 15 cities), the Post says parents pay an average of $10/hour for child care offered by sites like these. That is, $10/hour plus a membership fee (monthly or quarterly ones of $5-10 or annual fees of between $25 and $40 (rates are typically lower than those of traditional child-care referral agencies). "Parents can log on to the site, specify when and where they need a sitter and identify transportation and other preferences. SitterCity, for example, offers 40 criteria from which parents can choose, including whether the sitter smokes, knows certain languages, or is available on holidays (New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day are the most popular)." The sites provide contact info, references and, as with sellers on eBay, feedback from other sitter seekers on specific sitters' quality of care. "Parents arrange their own interviews and negotiate pay with the sitter (some sites have minimum rates, others have suggested amounts)."


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