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Appy Monday! Use Your Phone To Help Find Childcare On The Move

It's a truth universally acknowledged that good childcare is hard to find. There are a number of websites around that can help including Childcare.co.uk and it so happens that they are the first childcare site to bring out an app that allows you to find childcare while on the move.We tried it out and here's what we think....

The app basically has the same functionality as the site, which matches parents seeking childcare with local nannies, babysitters and childminders. It's advantages are that it is free to post and search, you can search by postcode and it will bring up a long list of people. It's disadvantage that quantity does not equal quality and many of the profiles registered on the site did not really make me want to contact the person who posted them (NB to any advertisers - if you write 'my mane is' instead of 'my name is' I am unlikely to contact you).

On the app you can search for babysitters, childminder, nannies, au pairs, nurseries, private midwives, maternity nurses and private tutors by entering your postcode. However when we clicked through to some of the profiles, they were in fact quite far away - not necessarily a problem if the nanny/babysitter was willing to travel but something to bear in mind. 

We only have a basic profile and with this you can edit your profile, search for other members, and reply to messages. You can only initiate contact with other members if you upgrade to the gold membership service which costs £9.99. I received an email to tell me that my profile had been viewed by a nanny but I can't intiate contact with her unless I upgrade. The basic profile is therefore quite passive as people can see that you have viewed them and therefore might message you but if they only have basic membership too they can't do that so you may not get any responses unless you upgrade, which is obviously what they are encouraging you to do.

If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch you can download the free iPhone app from the iTunes App Store.

Users of Android mobile phones can download the free Android app from the Android Market.

What We Loved: This is an easy to use app with no unecessary frills. Without having to go through any unecessary screens you quickly get through to the list of nannies/babysitters that you are looking for

What We Didn't: Everyone seems to be making apps these days but really this doesn't give you anything you can't get from the website (eg it would have been good to see a list of providers on a map using your current location) therefore unless you are so keen to source childcare that you must do it that minute from your mobile, I can't quite see why you wouldn't use a larger screen in the comfort of your home to do it. I suspect that the advantage is mostly for childcare.co.uk who by being first to the app market will introduce their brand to more families. That said, if you like to use your mobile this is a well designed app.

Vital Stats:

Cost - Free (but to upgrade your profile costs £9.99 and if you want to seriously use this to source childcare, you will need to upgrade)
Platform: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android

Have you used this yet or any other childcare app? Do you think that an app is a good way to find childcare or would you stick to your trusty laptop? Let us know what you think and if you recommend any other apps that are fun for kids or make life easier for you.

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