Nanny Cam Video Surprises, Frightens Cary Mom
Posted February 21, 2008 10:56 a.m. EST
Updated February 23, 2008 9:05 p.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — After her twin sons, Gavin and Bryce, were born three months premature, it was difficult for Lindsay Addison to go back to work in January.
Having spent months in intensive care, the boys still were not healthy enough to go to day care with their older brother, so Addison posted an ad online for a nanny.
After interviewing six candidates, she hired someone she thought she could trust – a nanny who is a mother herself, had a background in child care and had a “glowing recommendation” from someone who had known her for 15 years.
“She came in to our house around Christmastime and visited with the boys and us and our other son,” Addison said. “She actually has a child, and she brought him with her. And things just seemed to go well.”
The nanny started Jan. 2.
It wasn't until she installed a hidden camera she had purchased for $330 over the Internet in her home last week that, Addison said, she found out she was wrong.
“I was just questioning whether she was doing things I had asked of her and how she was spending her day,” Addison said. “And quite frankly, I just wanted to see my children during the day after being with them for nearly seven months.”
Because the camera she bought allowed real-time access from the Web, she was able to log on at work to a site to get a live look at what was going on in her living room.
“At first, I didn’t see anything wrong,” Addison said. “And then, I logged back on a little later to check on them, and I started to see things I didn’t like."
She said she saw Gavin unattended on the couch and kicking.
“I'm screaming at my desk, ‘Pick him up, pick him up, pick him up,’ and (the nanny) proceeds to look at him and continue on doing whatever she was doing,” Addison said. “And that went on for six minutes.”
Later, she saw her other son fall from the nanny’s chest into the side of the couch.
“She was, at one point, holding Bryce up on her chest, but was too concerned with what was on the television and changing the channel. When he fell off her chest, she didn’t pick him up right away,” Addison said. “And then, she went and held him upside down, which, to me, is just not how you should hold a baby,”
Addison left work early, returned home, told the nanny what she had seen and fired her.
"She never denied what she did," Addison said. "I gave her examples of what she did to the boys. She never denied it."
When Addison started watching the video files on the camera’s hard drive, she discovered more.
“She would just grab them by where their shirt or where their buttons or zippers are, and pick them up like bales of hay or puppies or kittens, with no care how she was doing it, and sling them on the sofa.”
“It got worse and worse and worse. I had to stop watching,” Addison said.
She called police, who took a report, watched the video and interviewed the nanny. They said the treatment did not rise to the level of being a crime, however.
“They just told her, ‘You know, this is not how you are to treat children, infants. You shouldn’t be caring for infants,’” Addison said.
WRAL contacted the nanny, whose name and identity are being withheld because she has not been charged with a crime. She had no comment and asked that she not be contacted again.
Addison said she wishes she had gotten the video camera earlier.
"We joked about (getting a 'nanny cam') when we knew were going to have a nanny come in to keep the boys," she said. Her initial feelings were to trust whoever was in her home.
But she wants other parents to know the technology is easy to use – she installed her camera within five minutes – and in her opinion, worth the investment.
“The technology is available. It’s affordable,” Addison said. “Anybody that can afford a nanny can afford a camera.”
“I probably never would have suspected, never would have known, and she would still be here had I not had the camera,” Addison said. “And it scares me to think what could have happened to my children.”