Baby simulators give young parents a dose of reality

Posted at: 10/19/2012 9:19 AM
By: Heather Mills, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Presbyterian Hospital is giving expecting moms a hands-on dose of reality. It's just recently added three infant simulator dolls to its Prenatal Program.

The dolls mimic babies born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and drug dependencies, and show the reality of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

As every new parent knows, a crying infant can certainly test your patience. Nancy Querubin teaches the Prep For Birth class at Presbyterian Hospital.

She said, "When we're frustrated or we've had a long day or not enough sleep, we become irritable."

She says young parents can face even more challenges.

"It needs it's diaper changed, it could be hungry, or it could just be any number of things," Querubin explained to her class.

Presbyterian's class is hoping to teach young parents not only how to care for their newborns, but also provides hands-on experience with life-like dolls to show the dangerous reality of things like Shaken Baby Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Querubin demonstrated how easy it is to hurt a child, gving the simulated baby a quick shake. 

"No! And by the time the baby does stop, there's blindness, there's damage to the cognitive learning, personality, limbs and ultimately in many cases, death."

It's something Alex Trujillo has already seen happen.

"A friend of mine, they were 19 when they had their baby and at 4 months, he was admitted to the hospital for what they said was abuse. But, after watching the video, I think it was Shaken Baby Syndrome."

Trujillo is 15. She's due in December. She says this class has been a wake-up call.

"Honestly, the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome baby kind of reminded me of a monkey."

Querubin says the new dolls are providing a much more realistic picture of what can happen to an infant.

"This new tool makes it much more effective. Usually I just use an egg and pop it in a coffee cup and it always gets a crack and sometimes it obliterates the egg," Querubin said.

Trujillo said she's going home with new perspective.

"Not only are you hurting yourself, but you're endangering the life of someone else, even if they're not born yet."

The three dolls cost about $1,700 and were donated by hospital volunteers.