Mitchell Lattof | July 6, 2020 | Alabama Law
Leaving your child in the care of another person can cause stress and anxiety. How do you know that your child receives the care and protection he or she needs? Is there a way to monitor the caregiver to ensure that your child is not mistreated while you are away?
The invention of nanny cams gave parents the ability to monitor their child’s care even though they are not present. With advances in technology, it is easier than ever before to install a nanny cam in your home. Extremely small devices can be placed on a shelf or in a corner to view the entire room.
However, are nanny cams legal in Alabama? They may be affordable and easy to install, but does a nanny cam violate a person’s right to privacy even if that person is your employee and is in your home?
Are Nanny Cams Legal in Alabama?
Yes, you can legally install a nanny cam in your home in Alabama to supervise your nanny and your child when you are away from home. However, there are restrictions for nanny cams.
Nanny cams cannot monitor a caregiver in a “private place.” A private place is defined as somewhere a person would expect to be out of view from the public and maintain a certain level of personal privacy. Private places are typically the bathroom and a nanny’s bedroom.
Therefore, you cannot install nanny cams in your bathrooms or in a live-in nanny’s bedroom. If you install the nanny cam in other areas of your home, you do not need to notify your nanny about the cam.
Some states require that you notify a person if you are going to record audio. However, Alabama is a one-party consent state. At least one party to the conversation must consent to the recording.
Since your child is a minor, you can give consent to audio recordings. Therefore, you do not need to notify your nanny if you are using the nanny cam to make audio recordings in addition to video recordings.
Because the laws regarding surveillance can change, it is usually a good idea to talk to an attorney before installing a nanny cam. Alabama does have a criminal surveillance statute. You want to make sure that you are not in violation of any criminal statutes when you set up your nanny cam in your home.
Why Do Parents Install Nanny Cams in Their Homes?
There are many reasons why a parent may choose to install a nanny cam. The underlying reason is usually the desire to protect their child from mistreatment or harm while the parent is not at home.
Parents install nanny cams to catch instances of child abuse, neglect, and sexual assault. A child may be too young or too scared to tell a parent if a nanny is abusing or mistreating a child. If abuse goes undetected, children can suffer severe internal physical trauma, including brain injuries and soft tissue damage. The video from a nanny camera can be the voice for a child who is being abused by a caregiver.
Also, a nanny can be considered an employee. Parents can be responsible for workers’ compensation claims if the nanny has a slip and fall accident or the family dog bites the nanny. A nanny cam can provide evidence in cases of fraud.
Even if the nanny is not a live-in nanny, parents could be responsible for personal injury claims under premises liability laws if the nanny is injured while on their property. Having a nanny cam can help reduce liability for injuries caused by allegedly dangerous or hazardous conditions on the property.
In some cases, a parent may install a nanny cam to ensure that the nanny is performing all job duties. The parents may be paying extra for house chores and cleaning. Also, the parents may want to ensure that the nanny does not entertain guests while the parents are not at home.
How to Install a Nanny Cam
Choose a nanny cam that is right for your situation. There are many choices, including small, discreet devices and cameras that are obvious.
Make sure that you read all the specifications for the nanny cam. Some nanny cams can connect to your Wi-Fi network so that you can monitor the live feed from a smart device when you are away from home. You want to make sure that the feed from the nanny cam is being recorded internally or externally on another device.
Most nanny cams monitor just one room. If you desire a sophisticated system for monitoring your entire home, you may want to research security companies. Security companies can install systems that monitor your entire home, including outside areas.