All About the RealCare Baby

Students in Dallastown’s Child Care classes have the opportunity to experience life as a parent.

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Sophia Ahrens

Here is Maddie Dewees Holding the RealCare baby in the child care class

Sophia Ahrens, Reporter

Have you ever wondered or questioned what taking care of a baby is like? Imagine getting 24 hours of time to take care of a baby and having to do it all on your own.

At Dallastown High School, students who sign up for the Child Care class are able to experience just that.

The baby is called the RealCare baby and it is an infant simulator which is highly technical programmed. It has sensors so it can tell you if you’re taking care of the baby properly or not.

A student’s abilities are tested to see how well they handle taking care of the baby. The whole point of the fake baby project is to show teens the demands of a baby and what to expect..

The “fake” baby comes with a bottle, a diaper, a sling, a set of clothes, and a car seat carrier.

Every baby is to be handled properly or it could cost up to $600 to repair.

Many of the students in the class realized at the end of the experience that taking care of a baby can be a lot of work and there is much to expect out of taking care of the baby.

Most commonly, students realized the lack of sleep and the time commitment involved.

“I was not expecting it to be that hard and stressful for taking care of the baby, it was a struggle and I am now more aware of the challenges of taking care of a baby.”          ”

— Gage Munyan

Mrs. Danielle Klinedinst is the Family and Consumer Science teacher in charge of the program at DHS.

Klinedinst coordinates when the baby is taken home and by whom, giving students a specific time that the baby will turn on. There are 15 different real infant schedules ranging from easy to difficult.  The baby is programmed on a medium or hard schedule.

A bracelet is put on the caretaker of the baby and in order to satisfy the baby’s needs when it cries, you simply have to swipe the baby to cause it to make a chime noise in order for the caretaker to be able to take care of its needs.   The baby cries if it needs fed, burped, changed or rocked. Burping and feeding can take up to 45 minutes to complete.

Students can choose to do it on a weekend which would mean the baby would be active Friday at 4:00 PM until Sunday at 4:00 PM  or choose to do a week day which then the baby is active from 3:00 PM to 7:00 AM.

“I think it is important for the students to have the opportunity to experience what the RealCare baby is like so they can get a small glimpse of what taking care of a baby is like,” Klinedinst said.

Not every school has the opportunity to experience the RealCare baby, but at Dallastown, it is a good companion to the Child Care curriculum, which already teaches students a bit about what it takes to care for a child.

But even so, it was still challenging for most students.

“It was tiring. I would have never guessed that taking care of a baby would be as difficult as it was,” junior Maddie Dewees said.

That is only a tiny portion of time compared to taking care of a baby as a mom, which is why Klinedinst encourages teens to know what to expect when you decide to have a baby.