Are Male Babysitters Safe?

(Facts & Stats You Should Know)

Have you ever noticed that there are hardly any male babysitters? Part of that is because men are less likely to be interested in the job overall (especially teenage boys.) But many parents also have a stigma and feel it's unsafe to leave their child with a man compared to a woman.

Is it safe to hire a male babysitter? A male babysitter can be just as safe, caring, and responsible as a female one. Rather than immediately rule out a male babysitter simply based on gender, it's better to set that aside and compare their qualifications and recommendations to your other potential candidates.

In this article, we'll discuss the stigma that male babysitters face, what stereotypes might contribute, and some of the statistics surrounding it.

Are Men Safe to have in Charge of Your Children?

I don't want to get too preachy and political with this post, but considering the subject matter, I think that might be unavoidable.

As a straight white guy, I know that pretty much everyone in the world faces more discrimination than me. And the world has really come a long way in terms of gender equality in the past few decades.

But when it comes to professions involving children like teaching and babysitting, men still face a lot of stigmas.

Even in 2019, many parents still feel less safe leaving their child alone with a man than a woman. Why? If you ask them, they might not even be able to articulate why they feel that way.

It's my opinion that on a subconscious level, most of our society believes that a man who wants to work in a career involving children must secretly be some kind of sexual predator. There's a deep level of mistrust there.

Here's why I think that is. We hear about it in the news more and more it seems. Males in positions of authority like teachers and priests assaulting children. And I think that plays a significant part in how people feel.

But is that an accurate representation of male caregivers as a whole, or is the media blowing isolated incidents out of proportion?

To get an accurate large-scale picture, we really need to look at the statistics.

What Do The Stats Say?

Regarding Sexual Assault

A 2005 study found that 90% of reported cases of sexual assault were perpetrated by men.

Whoa, that's pretty damning evidence, right?

Well, it's not that simple. There are other numbers that we need to consider too.

While overall, men commit vastly more cases of sexual assault, only about 25% of those cases involve child victims.

Comparatively, when a female does commit a sexual assault, it's against children 40% of the time. Almost twice as high a percentage as for men. (Although admittedly still a much lower number when considering overall cases.)

Regarding Physical Abuse

When it comes specifically to cases of physical abuse at the hands of babysitters, 64% of the time it's committed by women.

Again, that number could be inflated simply by the fact that females are far more overrepresented in babysitting positions in general.

What About Babysitters In General?

Let's set aside male vs female for a second. Should you feel safe or unsafe leaving your child with a babysitter in general?

Of crimes committed against children, babysitters make up a significantly smaller proportion than any other group. Including family members, and even complete strangers.

In crimes involving children below the age of 6, babysitters only represent about 4% of those. Compare that to family members who make up a whopping 53%!

So based on the numbers, it seems that your children being around a babysitter is actually less of a risk than almost anyone else.

What Male Stereotypes Make People Cautious of Guy Babysitters?

Men aren't as emotional as women and don't have many feelings. Some people might think that men are less qualified to be babysitters because they aren't as in touch with their emotions.

In the 1960s and earlier this was definitely a thing. From an early age, boys were taught that men don't cry. Men have to hold it together and not show emotion. Anger was the only acceptable emotion because it somehow showed strength, but definitely not weak emotions like sadness.

Through the decades since then, this has become less and less of a thing. To the point that I'm not sure parents really teach their kids that kind of thing anymore. I can't recall the last time I heard someone tell a boy that they had to "be a man" when they were feeling scared or fell off their bike and cried.

Men are more aggressive and risk-taking. Blame it on testosterone, but there is likely some actual truth to this one. For example, in many places car insurance companies will charge young men significantly more for coverage than women of the same age. Insurance companies have actuarial data to back their claims up.

Men are more likely to get speeding tickets or to engage in full-contact sports. But does this really translate over to babysitting?

The kind of guy who dares his friend to climb up on the roof and do a bellyflop into the pool probably has a very different mindset than the type of guy you'd hire to be a babysitter.

When it comes to babysitting, guys and girls can be just as responsible. Your male babysitter isn't going to play paintball with your five-year-old while you're gone.

They just want to follow your rules, do a good job, get paid, and keep their good reputation. After all, they might want to use you as a reference for a future job at some point, so it's important that they keep your house under control while you're gone and stay on your good side.

Boys are less mature than girls. Maybe this is true at younger ages, I'm not sure. But by the time they reach babysitting age, this shouldn't really be an issue. A little immaturity can be good... after all, they need to be able to relate to your kids somehow!

Men are useless around the house. This stereotype also dates back to a time when a man's job was to go off to work while a woman stayed home to cook and clean.

In modern times, men are just as capable as women when it comes to housework like cooking, cleaning, and laundry.

Just because men traditionally like things like sports and cars doesn't mean that male babysitters aren't awesome at arts and crafts either. In my family, it's the males who are the artists!

Make Sure You're Hiring Babysitters Safely, Regardless of Their Gender!

You really need to screen all of your potential babysitters, not just guys.

That includes things like doing background checks, following up with references (See what questions to ask references here), and maybe even doing a quick Google search for their name.

The kind of people of either gender who want to hurt children can be very deceptive, charming, and difficult to identify. That's why it's important to really vet your babysitter instead of just going off feelings and vibes.

Read our complete guide: How to interview a babysitter for essential tips and our trusted techniques to help you find the best sitter regardless of their gender.

Our babysitter interview questions can help you weed out unsuitable candidates.

And always be look out for bad babysitter warning signs and take action if you suspect anything.

Some parents may choose to install nanny cams for added peace of mind. If you're considering this, read this article first: Is it legal to record a babysitter and learn what you can and can't do in your country.

The idea that male babysitters are inherently less safe than female babysitters is inaccurate and based on faulty assumptions. There are babysitters of both genders that are great, as well as awful ones.

Related Questions

Do male babysitters get paid more?

Yes. According to this study a wage gap does seem to exist for male babysitters. They're paid $0.50 per hour more on average than their female counterparts.

See our Complete guide to babysitter pay to learn what costs to expect in your situation.

Can I ask my daycare provider only to let female staff change my baby's diaper?

Some daycares actually do have a policy where only female staff can change babies, mostly as a result of complaints and concerns from parents. Technically this probably would count as some type of employment discrimination. But if I was a male employee told that I'm not allowed to change diapers anymore, I'm not exactly going to argue! Don't be surprised as a parent if you make this request and the daycare tells you no though.

16 signs of a good babysitter

Written by:

 Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor

Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.

Published: 1 February 2019

More Babysitting Tips

Babysitter background check

Babysitter Background Checks (The Complete Guide for Parents)

Learn the types of babysitter background checks that are available for safety and peace of mind and which ones are right for you.

Autistic child with babysitter and parent

How to Find a Babysitter for an Autistic Child (The Complete Guide)

This guide will answer all of your questions about finding, vetting, teaching, and working with the right babysitter for your autistic child.

Babysitter search

What to Look For in a Babysitter (12 Essential Qualities)

Learn which qualities and characteristics a babysitter should have that make them a great caregiver your whole family will love.

Babysitter and nanny

Babysitter vs Nanny: Cost & Duties (Which Is Best For Your Family?)

Make the right choice for your family by learning the subtle differences between babysitters and nannies and their typical responsibilities.

Parent calling babysitter references

Babysitter Reference Checking (Ask the RIGHT Questions!)

Use our babysitter reference questions to quickly and easily vet potential candidates and find the best sitter for your family

NYE babysitter with baby

How To Hire A Babysitter For New Year's Eve (Cost & Requirements)

Learn how to hire a babysitter for New Year's Eve, what the requirements are, whether you need a backup sitter, and how much it will cost you!

Is Daycare Cheaper than a Nanny? (Full Price Breakdown)

Learn about the pros, cons, and costs of both daycare programs and hiring a nanny, plus we investigate some alternatives to consider.

Bad babysitter

Warning Signs of a Bad Babysitter (18 Red Flags to Avoid!)

Learn the warning signs of a bad babysitter so you can take action as soon as possible and keep your family safe.

Babysitter pay

Babysitter Pay Rates (The Complete Guide for Parents)

Learn how much babysitters get paid in various countries and cities, and how to price a babysitter for your specific situation.

Nanny cam

Is It Legal to Record a Babysitter? (What the Law Says)

Learn the basic laws that various countries have about recording people with or without their consent, and see the pros and cons of using a nanny cam.

List of babysitter rules

19 Babysitter Rules All Parents Should Enforce

There are some things that babysitters should never do, see our list of the biggest offenders so that you know what to enforce.

Parent tipping a babysitter

Should You Tip A Babysitter? (7 Times When It’s Appropriate)

Learn the places where it’s common to tip your babysitter, the times when it’s more appropriate to tip, how much you should give, and more.

Parent finding a babysitter online

The Best Ways to Hire a Babysitter (The Complete Guide)

Follow our step by step guide to hiring a babysitter from start to finish including screening, interviewing, performing background checks, and making an offer.

Parent information, milk, and teddy left for babysitter

How To Prepare For Your First Babysitter (15 Essential Tips)

Learn how to prepare your home, your child, and yourself for your first babysitter so you can finally enjoy a dinner date or night out for the first time in months!

Super babysitter!

Benefits Of Hiring A Babysitter (42 Unexpected Advantages)

Learn some non-obvious benefits when it comes to hiring a babysitter for your child or children. We'll also touch on a few of the disadvantages to consider.

Interviewing a babysitter

How To Interview A Babysitter (Essential Tips & Trusted Techniques)

Follow our tips to make sure the interview process goes smoothly and read our general guide on how the process should work.

Parent asking a babysitter questions

43 Babysitter Interview Questions (And What Responses to Look For)

Make sure your babysitter is capable, experienced, is a great fit for your family, and has a great personality too by asking the right questions.

Parent leaving information for a babysitter

What Info do you Leave for a Babysitter? (Plus Parent Checklist)

Give your babysitter all the information they need by printing out our handy parent details form. Never forget important instructions.

A good babysitter

16 Signs of A Good Babysitter (KEEP them if they do this...)

Finding a good babysitter isn't luck. We cover the top 15 signs of a good babysitter that you should be looking out for.

Family going on vacation

Vacation Babysitters (12 Tips for Relaxing Family Holidays)

We cover the best childcare options that are available to families while on vacation that both kids and parents will love.

Babysitter and child with separation anxiety

Babysitter Separation Anxiety (9 Tips to Prepare Your Child)

Solve separation anxiety issues by trying our 9 handy tips and you can be leaving your child with a babysitter sooner than you think!

Babysitting Expenses (Tax Guide For Parents)

Learn what babysitting expenses parents are eligible for, and receive a tax credit or deduction. It can save you thousands of dollars!

Can't Find a Babysitter? (Try Our 13 Sitter Alternatives)

Your best option is to reach out to family and friends for a favor. If they aren't able to help, try our list of creative alternatives.

How Often Do You Use a Babysitter? (Learn What's Right For You)

The majority of families will need to hire a babysitter between once per week and 1-2 times per month but it depends on your family's individual needs.

How Many Babies Can a Babysitter Watch?

Babysitters can take care of more than one child at once. But there is a limit on how many kids a babysitter can watch effectively.

Can You Sue a Babysitter? (What the Law Says)

To successfully win a lawsuit against a negligent babysitter, you'll need to prove a duty of care, a breach of their duty, and causation.

Doctor examining a child

Can a Babysitter Take a Child to the Doctor? (How to Grant Permission)

Learn what paperwork is required to allow your babysitter to take your child to the doctor if you’re unavailable to do so.

Overnight babysitter

How Old Should An Overnight Babysitter Be? (Safety Guide)

Learn how to choose a mature and capable babysitter that can keep your kids safe on overnight sitting jobs.

Parent discussing payment during a babysitter interview

Do You Pay a Babysitter for an Interview? (When to Pay Guide)

It's not normal to pay a babysitter for an interview, however, for babysitting, there's one key exception you should know.

Babysitter eating a sandwich and an apple

Do You Provide Dinner for Your Babysitter? (Try These 8 Easy Food Ideas)

Learn what babysitters expect from parents when it comes to food. If you decide to provide dinner, try our 8 easy food ideas that are perfect for babysitters on the job.