A Full-Time Sitter
A sitter can be an excellent choice for parents who have more than one child (rates won't double with two kids, as they do in day care); who have unpredictable work schedules or a child with special needs; or who'd like light child-related housekeeping such as laundry. Make sure she has:
A good history. Agencies do educational and background screenings. If you find a sitter through word-of-mouth, ask how much education and child-care training she has (including infant CPR) and if she has a recent background check to share. If not, run one; nanny.org has a list of companies that do checks.
Hobbies. Asking about her interests isn't idle chitchat; you'll get clues as to what leisure activities she may explore with your baby, says Susan Tokayer, co-president of the International Nanny Association. If she enjoys bike riding in the park, for instance, she's likely to want to get outside with your child.
A happy home life. As Tokayer says, "You don't want someone who's going to have daily drama."
Crisis management skills. Ask for an example of how she responded in an emergency situation. "You need a person who has demonstrated she can act quickly, stay calm, and make the right decision," says Tokayer. If she doesn't know to call 911 first and you second, keep looking!