Best Child Care Services

Sittercity is our pick for best overall child care service company

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There will be times when you will need help with taking care of your children from a babysitter, a nanny, or someone else to come over once a month on a Saturday night so you and your partner can hit the movie theater together. While many parents are lucky enough to be able to tap a grandparent or another family member for babysitting duty, this isn't the case for everyone. 

If you find yourself in need of a babysitter, the internet is a great place to find someone to care for your child if you know where to look, what questions to ask, and how to vet for nannies, sitters, and sites offering the services. To help you with this, we have gathered the best childcare services providing various options for your family's needs.

Best Child Care Services of 2023

Best Overall : Sittercity



Key Specs
  • Price: about $39/ month; about $29/ month quarterly; about $15/ month annually
  • Background Check: Verifies its sitters' identity through Experian and may screen them through the Family Watchdog database
  • Notable Feature: Can review sitter's profiles before interviewing
Why We Chose It

With a large network of sitters posting profiles to the Sittercity site, there’s no shortage of opportunities to find a reliable caretaker here. The best part is that you don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the huge number of options: Tell Sittercity what you’re looking for, and they’ll send you responses from qualified people. 

Pros & Cons
  • Review sitter profiles before interviewing

  • Also review references from other parents

  • Ordering a background check is available


With Sittercity, you can review sitter profiles (which include everything from availability and first-aid training to the foreign languages they speak) before moving on to interviewing. References from other parents who have hired that sitter are available for you to peruse, too.

The company verifies its sitters' identity through Experian and may screen them through the Family Watchdog database. Families also have the option of ordering a background check prior to hiring a potential sitter.

While no childcare service can guarantee safety 100% of the time, Sittercity goes above and beyond to make sure as many precautions as possible are taken to protect its families and its sitters. 

You can pay monthly for about $39, quarterly for around $29 per month, or annually for approximately $15 per month, giving you access to the site's network of caregivers, as well as post unlimited jobs, reviews, and references. 

Best for Options :

Key Specs
  • Price: Set by sitter
  • Background Check: Runs its sitters through a multi-tier background check; requires annual background checks
  • Notable Feature: Can find dog walkers, house sitters, and more on the same site
Why We Chose It

If you need someone to watch your kids, walk your dog, or water your plants while you’re on vacation, could be the right match for you. With one of the largest databases of care providers around, the site has been matching people with babysitters, nannies, housekeepers, and other professionals since 2006.

Pros & Cons
  • Search for sitters using different filters

  • Multi-tiered background check

  • Babysitting pay-rate calculator can help you figure out an average cost

  • An overwhelming number of options to sort through

Overview can be intimidating because of its sheer size, but you can search for sitters using a number of different filters, sorting by hourly rate, availability, experience, comfort level with pets, non-smokers, and more. Plus, options for child care have expanded to nanny shares, learning pods, and more in efforts to respond to the changing needs of families. runs its sitters through a multi-tier background check that includes searching state and federal criminal records, sex offender data, and motor vehicle information. The site also requires annual background checks for all caregivers and recently announced its Safety Advisory Council which works to give expertise on's safety protocols.

The rate that you’ll pay your babysitter varies by state, but provides a babysitting pay-rate calculator based on your zip code that can help you figure out comparable local fees.

It’s one of many helpful guides the site offers, so if you’ve never hired a babysitter through a service before, you might appreciate the resources available to walk you through the process. 

To view full caregiver profiles, access reviews and references, and gain unlimited messaging between you and providers, you need to sign up for the premium membership. Prices are not readily available on the website.

Best for Last-Minute Care : UrbanSitter



Key Specs
  • Price: $30/ month; $50/ quarter; $125/ annual
  • Background Check: Gives badges to sitters who have cleared their background check searches within the last 12 months
  • Notable Feature: Lightning-fast response time
Why We Chose It

UrbanSitter’s major selling point is the quick turnaround times offered in many of its cities. The site says that most babysitting job postings submitted as last-minute requests get responses in three minutes or less, making UrbanSitter a go-to site for spontaneous date nights, after-school care, and emergency situations.

Pros & Cons
  • User-friendly website

  • App available

  • Features that allow you to see popularity of caregiver


UrbanSitter allows you to sort through sitters with local referrals in mind. You can search by caretakers who are popular with other parents in your area and check out how many times other families have repeatedly booked the same nanny. That way, you know the sitter was a hit with their kids.

The app is available for Apple or Android, so you can find sitters wherever you are. However you’re accessing UrbanSitter, you can handle all your postings, bookings, and payments right within your account. The site also hands out badges to sitters who have cleared their background check searches within the last 12 months.

This site offers a monthly plan for $30, quarterly for $50, or an annual one for $125. Whatever you choose, you get to access all of UrbanSitter's networking, booking, and payment tools.

Best for Specialized Care : Nanny Poppinz

Nanny Poppinz

Nanny Poppinz

Key Specs
  • Price: Free, until you select someone, then a commission based on the service you selected
  • Background Check: Thorough background screening
  • Notable Feature: Site finds sitters for you
Why We Chose It

Nanny Poppinz is a true concierge service for finding specialized childcare providers, and you don’t pay a penny until you’ve actually selected a nanny or sitter.

Pros & Cons
  • They handle all the administrative work for you

  • Offers wide variety of babysitting services

  • Free until you find someone; then a commission is charged

  • Not available everywhere


Though Nanny Poppinz isn’t quite as widely available as some of the other sites, if it is in your area, you’re in luck.

If you require a particular babysitting service, Nanny Poppinz has you covered: It offers sitters for in- and out-of-home care, 24/7 emergency services, nighttime newborn support, mothers' helpers, hotel resort babysitting, sick child care, and more. 

The company has been in business since 1992, working to make sure the professionals it hires are qualified and experienced. You tell Nanny Poppinz what kind of sitter you’re looking for, and the service handles all the administrative work for you. Its staff performs thorough background screening, reference-checking, and personal, face-to-face interviews in its search for your perfect professional. 

There are no application or membership fees to join the service, although the agency does make it difficult to find out how much you pay, once you’ve chosen a sitter.

The concierge-style service provides its nanny-searching services for free until you select a professional for your family. Then, you'll pay a commission based on the type of services you need.

Best for Au Pairs : Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America

Au Pair in America

Key Specs
  • Price: A match fee, a program fee, and a minimum, weekly stipend for your nanny
  • Background Check: Extensive background checks
  • Notable Feature: Not only screens but trains their applicants
Why We Chose It

Au Pair in America offers multiple levels of au pair assistance and extensively screens, trains, and evaluates its applicants.

Pros & Cons
  • Handles the paperwork, logistics, legal contracts, and financing

  • Extensive background checks

  • They train their applicants

  • Specifically au pair services; no babysitting services offered

  • Quite a few fees


Au pairs are typically young, single women from foreign countries who travel to live with a host family and care for their children (unlike a nanny who typically already resides in the U.S.). To find one, it's best to work with an experienced service like Au Pair in America, which matches families to au pairs and handles much of the paperwork, logistics, legal contracts, and financing. 

The process is overwhelming, but hiring an au pair is an investment (financially, emotionally, and otherwise), so you want a qualified service that knows what it’s doing.

On that note, hiring an au pair can be pricey. But if you're looking for someone to take care of your child for more than one-off occasion, it will be a financial undertaking. At roughly $20,000 per year, you'll want to make sure your au pair arrangement is one that fits your needs.

With Au Pair in America, you'll pay a match fee, a program fee, and a minimum, weekly stipend to your nanny. This will include transportation, orientation and training, partial medical insurance, and liability coverage for your au pair.

All Au Pair in America applicants will have successfully passed a background investigation, which includes verification of schooling, references, a psychometric test, and a criminal record check.

If you've found an au pair whose service you'd like to use, Au Pair in America offers regional managers and local counselors (who are there to answer questions), and 24/7 emergency help.

Best for Referrals : Bambino



Key Specs
  • Price: Free to download; then a $5 charge when booking
  • Background Checks: All sitters must pass multiple identity verification checks
  • Notable Feature: Find sitters through your Facebook friends
Why We Chose It

Bambino requires you to log in with your Facebook account, so you can start by connecting with your real-life friends and acquaintances. From there, you can search for sitters based on who people you know have hired in the past.

Pros & Cons
  • Find a sitter that a Facebook friend used

  • Add "friends" and preferred sitters through the service

  • In-app bookings and payment

  • A little more user-intensive


Still feeling squeamish about hiring a stranger, even when a service is conducting thorough background checks? Consider giving Bambino a try.

If you don’t have a lot of Facebook friends using babysitters or registering with the Bambino app, you can still add “friends” and preferred sitters through the service as it looks for sitters in your community.

If a fellow mom around the corner has hired a sitter through Bambino, for example, you could connect with her to see whether she recommends that caretaker and why. 

This app is free to download and use in full, but once you've booked and paid for a sitter, Bambino charges a small service fee between approximately $2 to $3, depending on the experience level of your sitter.

Although this service is a little more user-intensive than some of the others, Bambino still performs background checks on its sitters, offers in-app bookings and payment, and hands out “refer-a-friend” credits. If your preferred way of hiring a babysitter is word-of-mouth, then the Bambino app is for you.

Best Budget : SeekingSitters



Key Specs
  • Price: $60 activation fee, then a small monthly fee giving you unlimited access to booking or individual pay-per-request fees
  • Background Check: In-depth background checks
  • Notable Feature: Most customizable for families on a budget
Why We Chose It

When you set up a SeekingSitters account, you pay a one-time activation fee of around $60. This pays for unlimited screening and background checks, as well as access to the entire network of available sitters.

Pros & Cons
  • Pay-as-you-need-it options

  • Background checks and screenings are free (after activation fee is paid)

  • Not available in every state


Several of the other services listed here require monthly or yearly subscriptions to access their databases of sitters. But SeekingSitters operates a little differently. Let’s say you only need babysitting help occasionally during summer vacation. You could sign up with SeekingSitters in June by paying the activation fee, then choose to pay individual booking fees each time you need a sitter. When summer is over, you might not need access to sitters anymore, and you won't have to pay again either.

For this service, after paying the activation fee, you choose from a customized billing plan (either a small monthly fee giving you unlimited access to booking or individual pay-per-request fees). All background checks and screenings are free after the activation fee is paid.

With SeekingSitters, you’re not paying to maintain a monthly subscription that you’re hardly using. This is probably the most pay-as-you-go option around, making it work within your budget.

Final Verdict

We found Sittercity to be the best overall option for childcare services among the plethora of websites available. It provides affordable services, strong background checks, and lots of options to check out your sitters before you even interview them. Plus, Sittercity will ask you a few questions and then provide you with the best sitters, making the process simpler and more streamlined.

Compare the Best Child Care Services of 2022

Company Price Background Check Notable Feature
Sittercity: Best Overall About $39/ month; about $29/ month quarter; about $15/ month annual Verifies its sitters' identity through Experian and may screen them through the Family Watchdog database Review sitter's profiles before interviewing Best for Options Not readily available on site Runs its sitters through a multi-tier background check; requires annual background checks Can find dog walkers, house sitters, and more on the same site
UrbanSitter: Best for Last-Minute Care $30/ month; $50/ quarter; $125/ annual Hands out badges to sitters who have cleared their background check searches within the last 13 months Lightning-fast response time
Nanny Poppinz: Best for Specialized Care Free, until you select someone, then a commission based on the service you selected Thorough background screening They find sitters for you
Au Pair in America: Best for Au Pairs A match fee, a program fee, and a minimum, weekly stipend to your nanny  Extensive background checks Not only screens but trains their applicants 
Bambino: Best for Referrals Free to download; then a $5 charge All sitters must pass multiple identity verification checks  Find sitters through your Facebook friends 
SeekingSitters: Best Budget $60 activation fee, then a small monthly fee giving you unlimited access to booking or individual pay-per-request fees In-depth background checks  Most customizable for families on a budget 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Different Kinds of Child Care?

You can split child care into two main categories: in-home child care (family members, regular babysitters, nannies, and au pairs) and out-of-home childcare, usually provided at licensed, daycare centers, schools, or nurseries. The right kind of child care for your family depends on several different factors, including how many hours of care you need per week, how much you can afford to spend, and the age of your child. 

How Do You Safely Choose a Child Care Provider for Your Family?

There are many great babysitters out there, so hiring a stranger doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster—especially if you take a few important steps. Try setting up an introductory meeting before the sitter comes to officially babysit, so you can all get to know each other and discuss important details like payment, house rules, food allergies, and general expectations. Also, inquire and, when necessary, verify the sitter’s credentials by asking if they have been trained in CPR, perform a background check, and call or email their references. Once you’re comfortable with the sitter you’ve chosen, it’s important to open a clear line of communication and foster a positive relationship where issues can be honestly discussed.

How Much Can You Expect to Pay for a Child Care Service?

Most of the child care services included here have reduced the stress of determining payment, either by setting rates in advance, or including cost in their individual profiles, so you can sort through qualified sitters according to your budget. The national average is $12.21 per hour, but it varies greatly by city. You may want to pay your babysitter more than the average rate if they’re highly qualified or taking on extra responsibilities, like laundry, dishes, or transportation to and from activities. 

Which Child Care Companies Are the Most Used Nationwide?

There are many child care companies that provide nationwide coverage. From the child care services provided on our list, Sittercity,, UrbanSitter, and Au Pair in America provide nationwide coverage. SeekingSitter and NannyPoppinz do not currently provide nationwide coverage.


For our top picks, our focus was on accessibility, cost, and safety. We started by selecting sites that provide services across the U.S. Some of the companies here connect you with sitters in every state, while others are available on a more limited basis—but none of them are state-specific or limited to a single region of the country.

Then, we considered the security steps each service takes to screen its sitters. Most offer multi-step, background checking and comprehensive interview processes, as well as educational resources for additional ways customers can screen and assess the competency of the sitters available. 

Finally, we compared the relative costs of the different services. Some charge monthly or yearly subscriptions while others require one larger upfront sum. All of the services, though, make it clear what you’re paying for and most offer financing options for every budget. 


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Article Sources
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  1. Payscale. Average Babysitter Hourly Pay.

By Sarah Bradley
Sarah Bradley has been writing parenting content since 2017, after her third son was born. Since then, she has expanded her expertise to write about pregnancy and postpartum, childhood ages and stages, and general health conditions, including commerce articles for health products. Because she has been homeschooling her sons for seven years, she is also frequently asked to share homeschooling tips, tricks, and advice for parenting sites.