The rules of parenting keep changing. Here are a few examples. For a while, you were supposed to let babies sleep on their sides. Now scientists say that’s bad. They should sleep on their backs or risk dying in their sleep at night. Babies were once tucked in at night with a blanket. Now scientists don’t want parents using blankets or leaving anything loose in the crib as it can increase the chance a baby dies.
And as things keep changing in the realm of “parenting,” the way things are done today is worlds apart from how it was done when grandparents were raising their kids. Because of this knowledge gap, experts no longer advise parents to leave their babies with grandparents because their parenting methods are outdated and risky.
Research indicates that grandparents still do things with babies that increase their risk of death. As mentioned in the intro, this includes putting infants to sleep on their sides, keeping loose objects in the crib with the sleeping baby, and plunging babies with fevers in ice baths.
And now that more grandparents are helping with childcare, the research can be worrisome. Grandparents assume their methods are safe because they used them to raise their kids and their kids didn’t die in the crib.
“We shouldn’t assume that just because they’ve raised a child before, they’re experts,” said study author Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York.
About one in four grandparents, from those who were surveyed, didn’t know that babies are supposed to sleep on their backs. If babies sleep on their stomachs or their sides, the risk of dying from sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS increases dramatically. The threat affects babies from one month to one year old.
It is crucial that grandparents and parents alike are educated on the best ways to raise children. If research can help increase the chances that the baby lives, you’d think more people would want to follow that.
Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician, believes parents need to be tested too.
“I’d love to see this study redone and given to the parents. I think people would be surprised,” she told CNN.
When grandparents are put into childcare roles, they should try to be open about the new ways things are done. Developments in discipline, nutrition, sleep habits and more have come through relentless scientific study over the decades. Practicing these tactics can save a baby’s life. If they are ignored, grandparents could put the infant’s life in danger. And if something happened, they wouldn’t be able to live with it.
If a child is at the grandparents’ home, the place should be childproofed. Make sure dangerous chemicals are not accessible – and be careful of button batteries like those used for hearing aids. If a child swallows one, they could die.
Grandparents should learn how to safely install a car seat if they’re driving the infant around.
Although grandparents raised their kids, the times have changed, and it is wise to learn the new best practices of parenting.