Becoming a parent for the first time can be very overwhelming. There’s so much going on – feeding schedules, diapering, unexplained crying. And when the time comes for you to take your bundle of joy home from the hospital, you set the car seat on the bed and look at it.
Then you look at your baby. Now what?
Thankfully, Beaumont’s Parenting Program can help. After a successful year-long pilot at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, the Parenting Program is offering first-time parents in-room car seat safety education at both the Troy and Royal Oak hospitals.“ We have one certified car seat safety technician at each hospital,” says Deanna Robb, director, Parenting Program.
“They are especially sensitive to the high anxiety of new parents. Before we had this program in place, we provided families with a list of community resources, including Safety City U.S.A., but now parents can get a little more immediate security knowing how to properly use and install their car seat.”
For years, parents didn’t have many resources to turn to when leaving the hospital with their baby. “We knew we had a gap, so we applied and received a generous grant from the Abrams Foundation. When we conduct inroom education, we regularly fi nd close to 100 cases of car seat misuse per month. By educating parents prior to discharge, we are able to correct these problems,” says Deanna.
Nicole Capozello is a Parenting Program coordinator for the car seat safety program and performs in-room education for patients. “When I walk into rooms and explain why I’m there, parents say, ‘Oh, thank god,’” says Nicole. “The misuse rate on car seats is 80 to 90 percent. Th is program gives us the chance to fix the problem before the families even go home and develop those bad habits.”
With the expansion of the program to Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in May, nursing units at both locations that off er the car seat education have received positive feedback. At Troy, they have even received positive comments on their HCAHPS survey. “At Troy, I see about 75 families per month, plus I answer questions for other families who may already have experience, but are a bit rusty,” says Nicole. Beaumont’s program is modeled after a successful in-room car seat safety program at DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids. Deanna and her team were able to adapt the DeVos model to the needs of Beaumont families. Beaumont’s program is offered most days Monday through Friday for four hours at a time.
“It’s a great thing when we can prevent our Beaumont babies from going home in expired, recalled and improperly installed car seats. The hands-on education parents receive has a real impact on forming a life-long habit of car seat safety,” says Deanna.