The right babysitter is a tough find. (Aside: The "right" babysitter is not always the best, nor cheapest, nor the one that is available...the "right" babysitter is the one that is right for you and your family). I have had some rights and wrongs when it comes to babysitters.
Yesterday, I left my 9-month-old baby for the first time for a whole day. A. Whole. Day. That equals months and years to a stay-at-home-primary-caregiver-mom. Who can I find to babysit for a whole day?
In my world, babysitters come in 4 categories:
Paid professional babysitters (whom I've never tried)
Teenage babysitters (been there, done that, the pizza box was left on the counter)
Dad (yes, I know Dad's aren't "babysitters" technically...)
Grandparents (do you call that grand-kid-sitting?)
For my older kids (aged 11 and 8) any of the above babysitters would do find. Really, all that is required when babysitting them is to push, play and watch for fires.
But for my baby. Well, he's a baby. I can't leave him with a stranger (see #1) nor a teenager (see #2). And as babysitter #3 has a real “in the world” job - he wasn't on the call list. So I thankfully secured #4. (There is a special place in heaven for those #4 sitters!).
Trying a new (non-relative) babysitter?
Don't be afraid to ask for references. Do a trial run for a few hours with you in the house. Ask if they have taken a babysitting course or have infant/child CPR? Ask your friends' for sitter recommendations.
You know the "right" babysitter - when you, the parent, is comfortable leaving the kids with that person.