A new 'Uber for nannies' app promises instant childcare at the touch of a button.

It’s no secret Australia is gripped by a childcare shortage, with never-ending waiting lists, $180-a-day fees once in and pretty inflexible times. Who even starts work at 9am these days?

But a new app, dubbed “Uber for nannies”, is about to change all that. Well, that’s what its founder, Melbourne mum-of-three Viviana Rossios, claims.

Little Ones, launching later this year around Australia, will allow parents the chance to log-on, check nearby caregivers and order them in for an hour, an afternoon or a whole day.

Each nanny or babysitter has a profile, with former family’s reviews and they set their own rate, depending on their experience.

“These days you can get anything you want ordered to your door,” says Viviana. “But with three kids, if something came up last minute, the answer was usually no.

“It’s about parents having some flexibility and not relying totally on grandparents or expensive childcare centres.

“What if I just want to pop to the shops for an hour? I can call in some help, instead of the hard work which goes into taking three children under seven around the supermarket.”

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It’s perhaps no surprise that parents are a little dubious about the new app, which has already attracted sign-ups from 300 caregivers.

On a Facebook post by Little Ones calling for nannies to join the database, one parent asked: “Great idea…but how safe is it?”

And it’s a good question. But the team at Little Ones claims that they will carry out the same checks as a standard day care centre or nanny service.

Patty Barrett, who is working on the project with Viv, says: “I think it’s normal for mums, especially new mums, to have reservations but by the time you’ve had a few kids you find it easier as you just need that help.

“And everyone is qualified and everyone has a Working with Children check. My advice is, you only choose what you are comfortable with. It’s a service.”

Image via iStock.

But would you really leave your child with a stranger?

Mum-of-one Natalie Reeves, in Bronte, Sydney, said: “I’d use this service but only if I was home at the same time. So I'd use it as a babysitting service while I finally tackled the tasks I have been putting off for ever that can't be done in nap times, like sorting out nursery cupboards, spring cleaning and decluttering.”

And desperate times, in fact, call for desperate measures, with current waiting lists for day care centres hitting an all-time high of two years.

Earlier this month, Labor’s early education spokeswoman, Kate Ellis, said government figures showed there’s an urgent need for a “massive increase” in childcare places.

She added: “Waiting lists will get longer, fees will keep increasing and many parents will simply give up on trying to return to work.”

So, it’s perhaps no surprise that 150 families have already signed-up to the Little Ones site, which will inform them once the app is up and running.