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Study suggests grandparents may use dangerous out-of-date parents practices

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH ) — A new study shows grandparents who step in for child care may be using dangerous old-school practices, putting kids at risk.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more grandparents are providing child care these days, but guidelines have changed since they were parents 20 or 30 years ago.  The study released last month involved a questionnaire completed by more than 600 grandparents. It revealed some main guidelines you might want to address with caretakers.

  • Nearly a quarter of those grandparents didn’t know that infants should sleep on their backs.
  • Nearly 80 percent didn’t know that wounds should be covered with a bandage.
  • 44 percent believed ice baths are a good way to bring down a high fever. That can actually lead to hypothermia.

Indianapolis mother, Candyce Hawkins said she had no doubt her mother Rita Offett would be the best person to watch her 11-month-old daughter Kessler when Hawkins is at work.

“She’s always smiling, happy. She doesn’t even cry when she’s wet,” Offett said.

Offett spends several days a week with Kessler.

“Now they want the babies on their backs. They don’t want anything else in the bed. Now they want you to feed them the mixed foods. It’s no longer a jar of this or a jar of that,” Offett said.

Hawkins and Offett said they usually agree on most parenting practices.

“She states her reasoning and I state mine and then sometimes we go to the expert whether it’s a pediatrician or a book and then we’ll solve it that way,” Hawkins said.

But doctors say it’s not always an easy issue to address.

“First of all, I think what most grandparents want to know is that they didn’t do it wrong,” Dr. Kim Schneider said.

She’s a pediatrician at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and said some grandparents may feel offended if you question their child care habits, so make sure to explain why you want something done a certain way.

“Sometimes that’s all they want to know. They don’t want to be told just blankly to do something, they want to understand it,” Dr. Schneider said.

And while some may find changes in childcare hard to accept, Offett says she’s enjoyed relearning how to raise a baby.

“I like the innovations. They’re really worth while. I hope they keep doing more so more babies can thrive in all kinds of situations,” Offett said.

“We all parent together. As you know, it takes a village,” Hawkins said.

If you are looking for guide on the latest child safety news, The American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children site is a recommended source by doctors.

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