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Before You Install Your Nanny Cam: What You Need to Know

January 17, 2019

It can be hard leaving little ones in the care of anyone other than mom or dad. That’s why, with camera technology becoming smaller, easier to use, and more affordable all at once, there has been a dramatic rise in the use of nanny cams. People want peace of mind, and the best nanny cam often helps to provide just that.

But it’s not necessarily as simple as grabbing a camera and strategically stuffing it into a teddy bear up on the shelf. Depending on what and where you’re recording, there are some legal concerns of which you should be aware. There’s also the matter of selecting the best nanny cam for your needs. With so many nanny cam considerations, we thought a quick overview might be helpful when it comes to deciding if a nanny cam is right for you.

Should I Use a Nanny Cam?

There are some pros and cons to using a nanny cam, and not everyone necessarily needs one. First of all, not everyone needs a camera watching the inside of their house—for some, traditional locks, alarms, and external cameras will do the trick.

Second, not everyone who needs a camera needs a hidden camera. For those worried about home invasion, a visible camera may even be more effective, as it helps deter intruders from staying long once they’ve gotten inside.

To help you decide whether it’s necessary for you to have a hidden camera in your home, we’ve put together a brief list of upsides and downsides:


  • Allows for discreet supervision of areas in your home
  • Depending on the model, may enable you to “check in” via a mobile device while you’re away
  • Depending on the model, can provide a long-term record of activity in the home


  • Depending on the model/system, it can have significant upfront costs
  • Legal concerns (addressed below)
  • May cause contention with individuals employed in your home

In a sense, the primary reason you’d want to install a nanny cam is if you have reason to believe someone in the home is engaging in disreputable behavior, and you need hard evidence to take action. For those just looking to keep tabs on kids or pets in the home, often a less discreet camera—like a baby monitor—would suffice.

Are Nanny Cams Legal?

There are two main legal concerns when it comes to nanny cams:

  1. Am I allowed to install one in my home?

Each of the 50 states in the US permits the installation and use of a hidden camera within the home to record individuals such as babysitters, nannies, house sitters, and so forth. The only provision to this is that it’s not permissible to record areas related to privacy (such as the bathroom or the bedroom of a live-in nanny).

  1. Do I need to notify anyone that I have done so?

The answer to this question is entirely dependent on if you are recording audio. While the laws permitting video recording are rather lax, it’s not legal to record audio if the person in question is unaware or hasn’t consented. If you are recording audio, you must disclose the presence of a hidden recording device, and obtain the consent of anyone who might be recorded. Failing to do so can render recordings not admissible in court.

Which Nanny Cam Is Best?

For those looking to buy the best nanny cam, you need to first determine what it is you’re trying to do with the camera and, by extension, just what kind of camera you need. For those who don’t need a hidden camera, there are less discreet options, often for much more affordable prices.

For those who need discretion, what you should buy will depend on a number of factors including your budget, needed features (if you need it to transmit video wirelessly, for example), whether you need audio, and the space you’re trying to record in. Pinning down these details first will enable you to find a product that will meet your needs without exceeding your budget.

For more information on indoor cameras and how to keep an eye on your little ones at home, check out the Owlet Cam today.

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Avatar for Channing Merrell

Channing Merrell

Hi! I'm Channing and I'm a proud member of the Owlet team!

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