Our BHS anatomy students are caring for babies again this year under the guidance of Mrs. Wakefield. Some high school kids think they know what it is like to take care of a baby until they actually have this life-like child crying uncontrollably in their arms. This extra-credit project shows students the most challenging parts of child care. When the baby cries, they have to figure out what is wrong. It might need changed, fed, burped, or just rocked for a while. The student has about two minutes to figure out why the baby is crying before points are deducted.
The new Real Care Babies are much more advanced than the old ones. Mrs. Wakefield finds out the baby's temperature, if the head was supported, if the baby was shaken, or handled roughly at any time. The computer records the data for each of these circumstances. The old babies had none of these features. Instead, they would cry, and the student would put a key in the back, and the baby would turn off.
BHS paid roughly $2,500 for the babies, clothes, diapers, sensors, diaper bags, and car seats. They can also be purchased with birth defects such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, premature births, and drug addictions, which reminds students how important it is to be healthy during a pregnancy.
The babies have three settings: easy, medium, and hard. On the hard setting, one has the opportunity to receive twenty-four extra credit points, or fifteen on medium, and ten on easy each day. You can take the doll for twenty-four or forty-eight hours at a time. The students are given a “mommy” armband with a chip inside. When held over the baby's chest the mother is recognized. The harder the setting the fussier the baby will be. Mrs. Wakefield can schedule the device to turn off at any time but you will not escape the responsibility, only the cries will be postponed. Another option is the babysitter feature, but if the babysitter takes care of it too often then you will lose points. Your babysitter will have an ID badge and they use it just like the “mother” would. Not every classmate has to participate but it is a great way to earn up to forty extra credit points per semester.
BHS students are always amazed by how realistic the babies are. Some kids are fully prepared, although for others it is too much to handle. Many students complained about the lack of sleep they received while caring for the infants. They learned that having a baby full time is much more difficult than babysitting for a few hours. This is a great opportunity for the students to learn the great responsibility that comes with caring for a child.
By Caitlyn Mason
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