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Viewpoint: Baby steps to learning new ways of child care

They wanted me to help take care of the baby. Wow. Now I can show them what I know. After all, I have been a dad a long time and I have done all the baby stuff.

Oh, you want to know who or what this is about? Well, Grandpa is part of a team of people helping to provide day care to this new bundle of tiny face, hands, feet and hair. Now on to the wisdom I can bring.

My first day after several days of preparation: a list. (I don’t do lists.) Oh, no. This list makes Santa Claus’ list look like a Post-It note memo. What is it — 16 to 20 lines of instructions? If all else fails, do I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete? All babies need to be swaddled. After all, isn’t that what a papoose was for? And my ancestors used them well. Next, if you move to another room bring a diaper bag, four different lotions and, of course, wipes. Oh, yes, the diaper. Where do you put the pins? Make sure to change said new child on the changing table. Use the straight jacket and four harnesses. If you need to travel, call the nearest packing place, use bubble wrap, put bumpers on the car and do not travel more than 14 mph.

Child care has changed: For safe sleeping, no blankets and no crib protectors. There are many new and great ideas brought on by years of expert study.

We didn’t have a car when I was growing up and now you need a baby car seat that has several straps that come without instructions. How do I get them in or out? True, when I tried to get a seat out, it took me 15 minutes of finding the correct way. The new parents were successful in five seconds. Once again, the safety seat has many needed changes, like sitting positions, proper head cradling and belts at correct position for the child. These may be all strange to me, but they seem to work.

As they grow (and they go outside to play) find SPF 200 sunscreen, smear the entire bottle on the child, wait 10 minutes and reapply – you may have missed a spot.

Yes, once again, they have learned that perhaps my wrinkles could have been avoided had I not spent every waking hour I could outside without protection.

To all my fellow caregivers: I get the idea of what you are doing with those kids. Folks, times have changed and the way to do things have changed.

My wisdom got thrown out the window. Now I must read a doctorate on how to take care of a child for eight hours and do it their way.

As a member of the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel last year, we put out many different articles on child safety from sleeping to clothing to personal experiences. Our hope is that you read them, whether by chance or when you awake from the nap you needed after reading the instructions for the day, and make sure the parents come home to a safe, happy child.

I have been fortunate to be a part of this, and, yes, I have learned (sometimes more than I cared to) when I got stuck in the room during the “lactation talk.” I wish I had known some of these things when I was raising children. (I have never thrown a baby into the air and caught them, since now I am aware that can cause brain damage. Hmmm, perhaps that’s my problem now.)

Seriously, my desire is that you seek out all you can to help your grandchild, parents or any person who will make any child safer. By the way, I now have a second grandchild in the same family and the list isn’t so long anymore. If you may be wondering, the first one has made it past her 3rd birthday. We must have learned something.

 Guy Sederski is a grandfather and member of the Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel. If you are interested in learning more about the work of the citizen review panel, call Don Pelton, Community Services supervisor, at 651-430-6631.