Tourists join ranks of parents needing care locally |

Tourists join ranks of parents needing care locally

Greg Risling

They clog our streets, cram the ski resorts and pack the casino table games.

But tourists are people, too.

Most visitors come to Tahoe for a family trip, a getaway from the daily grind of city life.

Whether parents have toddlers or teens, drop-in child care has become an urgent request among Tahoe tourists. There are choices available to visitors, from day-care centers at ski resorts to baby-sitting agencies.

The busiest time of the year for child-care providers is the later summer and winter months. It’s primarily due to peak season tourism and school vacations. Caregivers are finding that more of their clients are asking for non-traditional care during off hours.

Most of the ski resorts utilize the child-care option to keep skiers on the slopes and children out of harm’s way. The resorts deploy “kiddie” day care where toddlers and preschoolers can learn and play. Older children have the chance to enter ski camps where they can either pick up a set of skis or strap on a snowboard. The costs vary but for a full-day program, parents can spend on an average of what they pay for a lift ticket.

“It gives parents the peace of mind,” said Karen Roske, director of Children’s World at Squaw Valley. The resort’s 12,000-square-foot child-care center is licensed for 54 kids and geared toward toddlers. “They can check in on their kids because it’s close to where they are recreating.”

Some of the other resorts that offered day care include Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe.

The other popular option is baby-sitting agencies, most of which are listed in the yellow pages. Some tourists simply use their hotel concierge or front desk person to find them a provider. What unsuspecting visitors don’t realize is that baby-sitting agencies aren’t regulated by the state. All that is required of the sitters are business licenses.

Parents like baby-sitters because of the convenience. The sitters come to the customer at any hour of the day. The agencies are a clearinghouse where their employees are on-call. Parents receive a description and are assured, in some cases, that the baby-sitters have undergone safety training and a criminal background check. But, those commodities aren’t requirements.

“We’ve received very few complaints in our 25-year existence,” said one woman who owns an agency but didn’t want her name to be used in the article. “We tell parents that the sitters are concerned for the child’s safety and we want both the sitter and child to have a good time.”

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