Following the success of last year’s baby simulation programme West Swindon’s Emerge youth project are repeating the experience, giving 14 and 15 year olds the responsibility of looking after a robot ‘baby’ over an entire weekend.
Commenting on the aim of the programme, project coordinator Imogen Kershaw said: “It’s a powerful way to show how difficult it is to look after a child and it’s meant as a preventative measure against teenage pregnancy.
“The young people have to do all the things they would normally have to do with a real baby – feed it, change its nappy, burp it and rock it to help it sleep. After each activity they have to apply a special magnet to record that they have completed the task.”
Last year five robot babies were taken home for the weekend, and while three survived, two ‘died’.
Imogen said: “The young people were shocked by the ‘deaths’. They said they had gained a lot of experience of what it’s like to care for a baby.”
Pictured: Members of the Lydiard Partnership Mothers Union, who are funding the project, Mavis McLaughlin, Jean Brock and Doreen Henderson with Imogen Kershaw, left, and teens Lisa Ballard and Skye Thorpe.