The number of grandparents caring for their grandkids is increasing. The number of grandparents serving as primary caregivers to their grandchildren has risen 20 percent since 2000, according to the 2011 American Community Survey.
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Though today’s grandparents may have a wealth of parenting experience and knowledge, research says some aren’t aware of current child safety standards as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Pediatrician Elaine Schulte, MD, talks about the latest safety standards for child care, and recommends what grandparents can do to get up to speed on them.
In a recent University of Alabama survey of 49 grandparents, many didn’t know the most up-to-date information on important safety issues. Some of the study’s findings:
- Forty-nine percent of the grandparents thought it was okay to have bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets in cribs, though the AAP advises against it.
- Only 44 percent knew the best sleeping position for a baby is on its back, to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
- Nearly 74 percent believed a walker was a good device to help babies learn to walk, though the AAP strongly recommends against it because of serious safety concerns.
Dr. Schulte says grandparents also may not be aware of the age babies can safely drink water, which experts say is at least 6 months of age.
She says, “Tap water can be used to mix formula from day one of life. However, infants should not be given water, alone, to drink on a regular basis. It’s important to maximize calories – fats, proteins and nutrients – in the first year of life. Water is often introduced between 6 and 9 months, in a sippy cup – more as an easy, less-messy way to learn to use a sippy cup.”
Making sure both you and your child’s caregiver know the current child safety standards can make a big difference in the safety of your child.