One Dad thinks his babysitter should pay to replace his prized guitar. But his story struck a different chord with Redditors.

By Beth Ann Mayer
April 13, 2021
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Anyone with kids knows accidents happen, but what happens when those accidents happen to the tune of $2,000—on a babysitter's watch?

One dad wanted to know after his three-year-old broke his $2,000 guitar while being watched by a 19-year-old babysitter who makes $20/hour. He took to Reddit to find out. Here's the song and dance:

An image of a smashed guitar on a colorful background.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

"My wife had to rush to a work emergency, and I was already at work," u/RoughJury posted in the AITA subreddit. "The babysitter is already familiar with some of our rules…The babysitter, I guess, had an emergency herself and had to be on the phone for 20 minutes...she decided to take the call outside. In those 20 minutes, our daughter was able to move the couch to the living room gate, scale the gate, head into the basement, and pull one of my guitars off the wall. The neck is all warped, and my luthier said the neck needs to be replaced."

The price tag? $2,200. And Dad wants the babysitter to pay for it. The problem is that the babysitter's parents and friends think he's being harsh. For her part, the babysitter is offering to watch the kid for free, but that's not enough for the father. "It was her responsibility, right?" He asked Redditors.

Nearly 1.5K commenters have chimed in, and most of them are basically telling Dad he's way off-key here.

"Your valuable should be insured and locked up. Your baby gate should be secured…the babysitter is partially to blame, sure, but you also share a large portion of the blame," one commenter sounded off, adding that maybe the babysitter should help pay for a portion of the repair.

"If he's got thousands of dollars worth go guitars down there, why isn't the basement door locked?" another person wanted to know. "I think this is a situation for you to stop hiring her as your babysitter, but asking a 19-year-old to pay you $2,200 for something that was ultimately destroyed by your child is too much," someone noted.

But some had some sympathy for the dad. "I'd be pissed if I found out that my babysitter had stepped outside and left my three-year-old by themselves for 20 minutes," one Redditor commented. "If that kid rolled down the basement stairs and broke a bone…would the sitter not be responsible for that?"

This commenter has a point—the babysitter's judgment in leaving a small child unattended for 20 minutes is tough. Even if the call needed to be private, let's be real: How much is the kid going to understand?

But there's so much to unpack here. Let's zoom out and look at the bigger picture. During the pandemic, we've learned the hard way how valuable caregivers are as parents have struggled to balance caretaking and work responsibilities at the same time. And yet, childcare workers make less than $25,000 per year, according to jobs site ZipRecruiter. The babysitter in question is only making $20./hour. She'd have to work 110 hours to foot the bill for the guitar—that's slightly more than 4.5 full days.

Even if she was being paid handsomely, the child's parents could have better secured their valuables, as other commenters noted. Their child technically broke the guitar. Asking the babysitter to pay for a new guitar is over the top. Not allowing her to babysit the child anymore for safety reasons isn't, though.