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Baby-Sitting in New Jersey Averages $16 an Hour [AUDIO]

New Jersey and New York City residents have some of the highest costs of living in the nation, which is why it comes as no surprise that baby-sitting rates in the region are on the high side as well, averaging $15.34 an hour for one child according to UrbanSitter’s 2014 Childcare Rate Survey.

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The national average is $14.13.

In larger urban areas, there is a wider pool of more qualified sitters and because the cost of living is higher, many parents can afford to pay more for child care providers, according to Lynn Perkins, CEO of UrbanSitter.

“I think part of it is what parents are willing to pay and you also have many sitters who have special skills that sitters in other areas do not have,” she said. “I think what’s unfortunate is that it makes it a little more cost prohibitive to go out on that occasional date night or to find a sitter when you need a couple hours to get errands done without your children,” Perkins said.

To reduce child care costs, parents are combining the cost with other families. “If you have two couples who are looking to go out on a Saturday night and their children are friends, they may set up a play date for the kids at one house and get one sitter, so they can split the cost instead of hiring two sitters,” Perkins said.

Parents also are going out on weeknights instead of weekends to save money.

People who live in the New Jersey and New York area may find qualified sitters who have just moved into the area from other parts of the country, and are looking to build up their clientele in this market. “These people may be very qualified and have great experience, but they may also be willing to charge a little less to help build up their reputation in the area,” Perkins said.

When looking for a baby-sitter, Perkins recommends finding someone who has had a criminal background check and offers references.

“Talk to friends who have used the person and call the references that you are given. If you’re apprehensive about having the person watch your child for the first time, make the first time a play date where you are there with the sitter and your child, so you can see how that person reacts with your child,” Perkins said.

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