The definition of a day care varies from state to state. In many states, anyone who cares for four or more children in their home is considered to be running a day care facility and must meet certain guidelines.
The IRS defines a babysitter as someone who provides care in the child's home as opposed to their own home. Babysitters do not need to pass background checks or go through training, while day care providers do. Day care providers must also be certified and licensed under the applicable state laws in order to operate as a business. Those who run a day care in a facility that is not their home may be classified as operating a child care center and be subject to further regulations.