Baby Think it Over

Teens with dolls

The National Chapter of Canada launched the IODE Baby Think It Over Program in 1999 in partnership with the William H. Kaufman Foundation. This pilot project continued until 2004, and then was turned over to IODE provincial chapters wishing to continue with the program.

The Baby Think It Over infant simulator is a life-like, life-size baby doll with realistic computerized responses, which allows teens to experience some of the demands of infant care. Schools and other organizations to help adolescents appreciate the responsibilities involved with parenthood are using it. After spending a couple of days and nights with the Baby Think It Over infant simulator, many teens come to realize that they are not yet ready to take on the pressures and responsibilities of parenting.

Yellow Briar has been assisting Westside and ODSS with these dolls for several years.

What is it, and how does it work?

The infant simulator is a lifelike, life-size (20 1/2 inches) vinyl baby weighing 6.5 pounds. It is anatomically correct and available in both sexes and five different ethnicities. An internal computer simulates an infant crying at realistic, random intervals 24 hours a day. Intervals can be adjusted from 15 minutes to 6 hours for a normal, cranky, or particularly easy to care for baby.

The "parent" is given a non-transferable key attached to a hospital bracelet on his or her wrist that must be inserted in the Baby for a specific length of time to simulate feeding, bathing, diaper-changing and comforting. Care sessions last from 5 to 35 minutes. If the "baby" has been properly cared for, it will coo to signal the end of the session. If it is neglected (allowed to cry for more than one minute) or handled roughly (dropped, thrown or struck), tamper-proof indicators on the computer will alert the instructor.

Does it actually work?

More than one million teens have used Baby Think It Over since its creation in 1993. As of 1998, over 40,000 infant simulators have been sold in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Recent studies have shown that the use of Baby Think It Over is more effective in changing the attitudes of adolescents toward parenting than other popular strategies such as shadowing a teen parent for a day. Reductions of up to 50% in the rate of teen pregnancy have been reported by some schools and teachers who have used the infant simulator. Baby Think It Over has received several major awards, including the What's New in Home Economics "Healthy Living Award" for 1995, 1996 and 1997; the Parenting Magazine "Parenting Achievement Award" for 1995; and the Fortune Magazine "Product of the Year Award" for 1994.

Baby Think it Over doll