Grandparents May Not Know Best When It Comes To Babysitting

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Families with two working parents are becoming the rule rather than the exception. With that trend comes a rising number of grandparents who are taking over the care of the kids. And now, a new study suggests grandparents may not always know best.

When Betty Boyko of Belchertown began babysitting her grandchildren, she quickly discovered how the rules have changed. “For instance they said the baby goes on her back. She doesn’t sleep on her stomach. My children slept on their stomach,” she said.

A recent survey found many grandparents aren’t aware of all kinds of new safety guidelines. Experts, like Dr. Kyran Quinlan of the American Academy of Pediatrics say it’s time to get up to speed. “There is new knowledge about what is safest for young kids and grandparents who regularly care for kids will need to learn about these things to do the best job,” he said.

The survey found a third of grandparents thought it was OK to put a baby to sleep on their stomach. But research shows that can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. About half of grandparents didn’t know that blankets, bumpers and stuffed animals also increase the SIDS risk. About a quarter of the grandparents were not aware of the current recommendations for car seats. “Grandparents felt it was OK for a 9-month-old to be in a forward facing in a car seat, and this is also the opposite of what is true,” Dr. Quinlan said.

Experts also warn parents to avoid the urge to pull out their old baby gear from the attic. Safety standards have changed so many times in recent years that most all older gear is likely to be unsafe.

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