Having just had a brilliant experience with Baby Sitter UK, what could we do but recommend them to our viewers.

It is always difficult when travelling to find a baby-sitter that one can trust, not only to take care of your children the way you would like, but also to turn up on time and be friendly and professional.

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Parents can log on for free. Logging in is very easy and the site gives a lot of information.

Babysitting agencies can be a great way to solve your childcare problems.  Many parents may feel a bit apprehensive at first – that’s quite natural!  But in our experience, parents using an agency for the first time will wonder afterwards what on earth they were concerned about.  Remember – the childcarer has chosen to work with children because they enjoy it and you’ll find that they are quick to put you and your family at ease.  Before you know it – your family will get to know a small group of babysitters in your area – and with a bit of luck you’ll never have the stress of finding childcare again!
• If there’s anything in particular that your childcarer needs to know (such as instructions for medication, feed times, favourite toys/comforters, bedtimes), together with your contact details (and an alternative contact number if necessary), it’s a good idea to jot these down in advance so that they can be referred to during the booking (and you can always use these notes again for bookings with other babysitters).
• Some parents choose to go out somewhere very local to home when they use a babysitter for the first time – so that they can easily pop home if need be.  
• Ask your childcarer to send you a text message during the babysitting booking, to let you know that all is well and to put your mind at ease. 
• Why not ask for the childcarer to arrive early (say, half an hour before you need to leave). Then you’ll be able to introduce her to your children and see at first-hand how well she responds to them.  If the children are ready for bed, she could read them a story, or if they are older they could start a game together. When you introduce your childcarer in this way, children soon feel comfortable. Think you might need the services of an agency?  Here are some top tips for using a babysitting agency for the first time:• Hotel/holiday childcare (when you’re staying away from home in the UK and require childcare)• Childcare cover at home during school holidays and INSED days• Emergency childcare cover for when your usual childcare arrangements breakdown (your Nanny or Childminder is unwell, or your child is poorly and can’t attend school or nursery)• Occasional daycare at home (when you need to attend an appointment or go to work – or if you’re working from home and need someone to look after your children)• Evening babysittingSo why use a babysitting agency?  They’re not just for the odd evening out – they can come in handy for all sorts of childcare cover:For an unbiased review about babysitting agencies – a good place to start is The Good Care Guide (www.goodcareguide.co.uk) – a kind of ‘Tripadvisor’ for the care industry which covers babysitting agencies as well as schools, nurseries and care homes across the UK.  Does the agency have a good reputation?  How long has it been operating?  What do other parents using the service think about it?  What fees does it charge?  Is it a directory-based service – or does the agency carry out all the necessary vetting and make all the arrangements on your behalf?  Is it a local or a nationwide service?  Reputable agencies only work with experienced childcarers who have years of professional childcare experience.  They’ll carry out extensive background checks and interview each carer face-to-face, so you don’t have to.  Booking childcare online may have been frowned upon a few years ago – and may still seem unthinkable to some.  But today many, many thousands of parents across the UK are regularly using babysitting agencies to match them up with experienced, carefully vetted local childcare professionals – all at the click of a mouse.  There are lots of childcare agencies around – but it goes without saying – always do your homework first. Personal recommendations and word of mouth are a great way to solve childcare dilemmas (although if it’s a close friend, you may find yourself trying to share the same childcarer at the same time!).  Thankfully, there are other tried and tested childcare options available for parents juggling busy work schedules while trying to maintain something resembling a ‘social life’.  One option that’s becoming increasingly popular is the babysitting agency (aka ‘the fourth emergency service’).  Unless you’re lucky enough to have family and friends nearby who are happy to help out – finding occasional childcare can be time-consuming and downright stressful.  One of the biggest hurdles any parent will overcome is allowing someone else to care for their children. You’re not alone if you feel anxious about this – we all feel exactly the same!    The fourth emergency service – the rise and rise of the babysitting agency