Finding a baby sitter, in 3 minutes or less

Seven potential baby sitters (across table) were interviewed at Coco Baby, a South End boutique.

Johanna Kaiser for The Boston Globe

Seven potential baby sitters (across table) were interviewed at Coco Baby, a South End boutique.

Speed dating has enabled many singles to find their soulmates, but can parents use the rapid-fire technique to match up with the perfect baby sitter?

On a recent evening in the South End, where more and more strollers have been rolling down the sidewalks in recent years, about 20 Boston parents set out to try, in three-minute bursts.


They sat at a long table across from seven candidates. At the ring of a cowbell, they launched into conversations that covered experience, availability, child-care style, and whether the sitter owns a car.

Three minutes later, another clang. Parents shifted to the right and interviewed a new sitter, a process repeat­ed until everyone was interviewed. The next step: Parents will follow up separately with the potential sitters.

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“You can’t get the full picture, but you can get a good sense of common ground ... and gauge if we see eye to eye,” Charlestown parent Lindsay Devin said ­before the mini-interviews, held at Coco Baby, a ­Washington Street boutique. The event was sponsored by the website UrbanSitter.

Sitters, too, said they were confident the approach can help them make connections.

“I think just getting to talk to someone, you can get a grasp of their experience,” said baby sitter and ­Harvard student Sarah Winn, 19.

Johanna Kaiser

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