It’s one of the biggest challenges parents face: finding reliable childcare. Hiring a babysitter or nanny comes with an unavoidable, inherent element of blind trust.

One way parents try to overcome some of their initial concerns is to seek a touch point or connection to a sitter to increase their comfort level about a potential new caregiver.

Chances are that if a caregiver watched your friend’s kids, or was hired by another parent at your kids’ school, you are more likely to feel comfortable reaching out to her/him. I sat down with Leslie Venokur, co-Founder of Big City Moms to get her honest opinion on getting out of her “comfort-zone” when it came to finding childcare.

LP: You were looking for some weekend help and your usual caregiver wasn’t available. What helped you decide to go ahead and give UrbanSitter a try when looking for someone new?

LV: After I played around with the website and I plugged in all my information, I immediately found sitters that friends of mine had used, parents of children that attend the same school as my daughter and fellow Big City Moms. There was something comforting about that. I also liked that I could set up interviews with babysitters before I chose to hire them, so I knew I could meet them in-person and see if they were a good a fit. The fact that I could see the sitter’s experience, read reviews written by other parents, and see that a background check had been run was what sealed the deal for me.

Another feature I loved was the ability for my daughter to watch a video of the sitter, so she felt more comfortable too! It was as though she knew the new sitter before she came over to our apartment.

LP: Were you apprehensive to use a website to hire a sitter, and why?

LV: I was actually. I personally am not very good at leaving my kids with new people that I don’t know. This was particularly true when my son was just an infant and was still in that needy stage. The thought of picking a sitter by looking at what I thought would be just a picture online was a little frightening for me.

LP: What do you want Big City Moms to know about using UrbanSitter?

LV: I’ve found that people tend to shy away from entering their information into an unfamiliar site i.e. your Facebook info, group affiliations etc…Its so important to do so, because it can show who in your network has hired or interviewed – and it makes it that much more easy to find the perfect sitter! Plus the ability to pay via credit card comes in handy on those occasions you spend too much on your night out!

A lot of parents say they are apprehensive to hire a sitter online, but finding and hiring a sitter could not be easier. Like OpenTable for babysitting, it simply takes signing up (for free), and entering your search criteria (CPR Trained, Mandarin Speaking, college graduate, who has experience with infants, for example). You review sitter profiles, watch their videos, and read what other parents have said about them. You can then choose to interview them by phone, or in person, or simply book them then and there.

UrbanSitter is proud to be working with Big City Moms to help more parents find a reliable and easy way to find childcare. If you are looking for a list of questions to ask a potential sitter or which type of babysitter is the right fit for your family check out UrbanSitter’s Resource Center.