Failure of the baby-doll

Monday 15 May 2000

Can a doll that wails and cries like a baby discourage teenage girls from getting pregnant? A recent study from the US shows that this may not be the case. Such dolls are intended to help teach responsibility to young adult women. The new idea is the 'Baby Think It Over Doll', a 3-kg surrogate that bursts out wailing 24 hours a day at intervals ranging from 15 minutes to 4 hours, and can be quieted only by a key attached to the user's wrist. It was hoped that this innovative method, combined with sex education, would deromanticise the minds of teenagers. But Judith Krawlewski and Catherine Stevens-Simon at the University Health Sciences Centre in Colorado, USA, tested this out in a neighbourhood with a high rate of teenage pregnancy and the findings were disappointing. The girls were asked to spend three days and two nights with the dolls. They reported that the experience did not change the intentions of those girls who hoped to become mothers before the age of 20 ( Pediatrics , Vol 105, No 2).

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