It’s the morning of the Christmas cocktail party that you’ve been looking forward to all season long. Your manicure’s barely had time to dry when you get the dreaded text from your sitter. She’s come down with a stomach bug, leaving you out in the cold – almost. Before you cancel your plans, give one of these last-minute babysitter solutions a shot.

Champagne Toast

Pinch Sitters

To stay in business in NYC for more than 25 years, you must be doing something right. Pinch Sitters has hooked up more than 2,500 families in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens with childcare, and your last-minute calls are where they truly shine.

What You’ll Get: All of Pinch Sitters’ childcare providers (they currently employ about 70) have a minimum of three years of experience in caring for kids, a college education, and at least two recent references. You can also request a sitter with CPR certification (most have it), and their profiles can all be viewed online.

What It’ll Cost You: Pinch Sitters’ fee is $22/hour (to be paid in cash after the job’s completed), with a 4 hour minimum.  After the first four hours, sitters are paid $11 on the half hour, and after 10 p.m., a $15 travel surcharge is added.

If no you need to cancel and give 24 hours notice, there’s no charge. Last-minute (same day) cancellations are charged $45, and those made with less than 2 hours notice are charged $88 (the minimum four hour fee).

Sign Me Up! If you have some advance notice, you can fill out the registration form on Pinch Sitters‘ website. If you need a sitter in less than four hours (or have any specific questions), call 212-260-6005.

Beyond Care

Based upon a true co-op model, Beyond Care is a network of some 30 trained childcare providers, all of whom received extensive training and operate on the principles of caring, educating and engaging.

What You’ll Get: Members of Beyond Care range in age from 25 to 50, and all are mothers themselves. Most have immigrated to the US from other countries, and almost all of them have extensive experience in childcare work. Additionally, all members are required to be certified in CPR, and take classes in child development; appropriate play; at-home safety; and health and nutrition.

While it’s the last thing that you want to think about, the fact that each member of Beyond Care is reviewed and cleared through the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment should give moms a piece of mind.

What It’ll Cost You: While each of the co-op’s members will establish her own rate after getting a firm understanding of the job and responsibilities, you can expect to pay between $16-22/hour (and maybe a bit more if it’s truly last-minute).

Sign Me Up! Call 917-463-0399 or email

Lucky Lil’ Darlings

Founded in 2005, Lucky Lil’ Darlings‘ NYC area coverage extends to Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut. What started with two babysitters eight years ago has grown to a 300 sitter strong business. In addition to providing at-home childcare, the service also offers on-site babysitting for events (food for thought for your next big bash), sitters who will travel with your family, watch kids in hotel rooms – really whatever your needs dictate.

What You’ll Get: All of Lucky Lil’ Darlings’ sitters are college-educated working professionals and students who receive extensive screening — from a pre-screening to a social media review, rigorous national background checks, reference checks and ongoing feedback from parents. All sitters are also CPR and fire safety trained.

What It’ll Cost You: Rates start at $21/hour for one child, and go up to $28/hour for five kids. There’s no minimum, but as such, the service asks that parents set and adhere to expectations out of respect. If you’re out after 9 p.m. (which if it’s a good party, we hope you are!), you’re required to pay for your sitter’s transportation home.

Sign Me Up! If you have a few days advance notice, register online at Lucky Lil’ Darlings. If it’s a last-minute request (less than 24 hours), send them an email at info@luckylildarlings.

What’s your go-to solution for last-minute childcare?

Photo by Flickr user Toni Blay