Let’s face it, nothing is more important than the safety of your children. When you’re thinking of hiring a babysitter, you want to be confident the person is trustworthy and safe, not to mention having a great rapport with your kids. But how can you be sure you’ve hired a person your kids can be truly safe with? GroupOne has a few tips.

While the traditional employee background check is a great way to find out more about your potential employee, it must be done legally. Follow these steps and you should have no problems.

1. Get permission
Ask the candidate to sign a Consent to Background and Reference Check. As their potential employer, you’re not legally allowed to do a background check unless your potential employee consents, so getting permission in writing is a must.

2. Know what you’re looking for
You don’t need a person’s entire life story, so limit your background check to relevant details.

Character and professional references are key. Ask previous employers about the dependability, warmth, kindness, experience and level of professionalism of your potential babysitter.

A criminal background check is also important. Is there a record of criminal activity that would make you think twice about leaving this person alone with your children?

Don’t forget driving records. If you’re planning to have the babysitter drive your kids anywhere, you’ll need to research their driving record.

3. Check references
To get a well-rounded picture of your potential babysitter, ask to speak to a mix of past employers and family or friends. For previous employers, be sure to get a name, address, phone number and dates of employment. Check each of these references and be prepared with a list of questions.

4. Respect the limits
Some questions can be out of bounds, even in a background check. Federal law prohibits you from asking about:

Age (you can ask if they’re old enough to legally work);
Their place of birth (you can ask if they can work legally in the U.S.);
Race or ethnicity;
Marital status;
Disability status;
If they’re pregnant or planning to be anytime soon.

It can be tempting to ignore background checks once you’ve found the right babysitter. No matter how wonderful the caregiver, a thorough background check can reveal information about a potential candidate that can help you make a better-informed hiring decision.