If you ask us, grandparents are pretty much the greatest. Free babysitting? Check? A ready supply of love for our babies? Double check. But a recent study presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academics Societies meeting on Thursday found that in some cases, their old-school thoughts on parenting could be putting your baby at risk.
Given that it has been 20-30 years since our parents were raising babies, it’s no surprise that some of the recent advances in baby safety have changed. From car seat standards to when it’s okay to add pillows to the crib, the rules are often no longer the same. Two findings that caused the most concern: nearly a quarter of the 636 grandparents that participated in the study did not know that the safest sleeping position for a baby is on their back 68 percent didn’t know wounds will heal faster if they are covered.
For parents who regularly use grandparents for babysitting or daycare, Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York and lead author of the study, recommends helping grandparents to stay up-to-date on the new standards. (Psst! Sign your parents up for Motherly here to help them stay updated!) “Parents are willing to do just about anything to make their kids lives easier,” says Alexandra H. Solomon, PHD and licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in families, marriage, and relationships. “If the young parent can say, ‘I’m having a hard time and here are a few things you can do to make me feel better,’ it invites grandparents into the caretaking role.”