Are Grandparents Clueless About Kid Safety Rules?

We certainly hope not, but the facts might present a different story.

First, a shoutout to my two-year-old’s four grandparents, who spend hours a week helping watch him, and without whom I could not be a happy working mama.

I rarely question their child-rearing judgment (after all, my husband and I turned out just fine), but new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that many grandparent caregivers could use a refresher course when it comes to Kid Safety 101.

It was a small study of just 49 grandparents, but the results revealed that many didn’t know recent updates to rules about sleep, car seats, and walkers. Among the startling findings:

33 percent said the best position for a baby to sleep in is his stomach.

Fact: The AAP recommends infants be placed to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

49 percent said that bumpers, stuffed animals, and blankets are safe to have in an infant crib.

Fact: Last year the AAP officially recommended that babies not sleep with these items, which could also raise SIDS risk.

74 percent said walkers are a good way to help baby take those first steps.

Fact: The AAP strongly discourages walker use because they can lead to serious falls and injuries.

24.5 percent said that a 22-pound, 9-month-old baby should sit in a front-facing car seat.

Fact: Recent AAP guidelines recommend that babies remain in rear-facing car seats until age two.

Considering that an estimated 2.87 million grandparents are primary caregivers to their grandchildren (a 20 percent increase since the year 2000), it’s important that everyone (parents, grandparents, and anyone providing childcare) be up to date on the latest safety recommendations. It’s a good idea to read the same baby books, share articles about changes in childcare advice, and perhaps even take Grandma along to those well-child checkups at the pediatrician to make sure everyone is up to snuff. These are the pieces of advice from your grandparents that you should always ignore.

Photo Credit: © Stockbyte/Thinkstock

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest