Mexican students adopt robobabies
Computerised deterrent to teen pregnancies
The Mexican state of Chihuahua has formulated a cunning plan to reduce the area's soaring teenage birth rate - obliging youngsters to look after wailing, burping robobabies, Reuters reports.
Pairs of high school students aged between 13 and 17 adopt the computerised "RealCare babies" for two or three days, during which they are subjected to an authentic regime of babycare.
State education official Pilar Huidobro, who runs the scheme, explained: "You have to change their diapers, feed them and slap them on the back so they burp. They laugh, they get colic. They simulate the behaviour of a real baby."
She added: "The aim is to have a more novel way of getting young people to be really conscious of the risk of becoming fathers or mothers at a young age."
Chihuahua apparently boasts "one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country, with 20 per cent of babies being born to mothers aged 19 or younger", according to Huidobro.
The scheme appears to be working, though, with most participants described as "mostly horrified at the amount of work involved in looking after a baby". Huidobro reported: "There's been a good response. They all agree it's not the right time for that kind of responsibility." ®
In case you're thinking it would be pretty simple to leave your RealCare baby at home and push off down the cantina for a few tequilas, think again. It boasts a "easy-to-use wireless control unit" which "reports even more data than before, making grading easier and more accurate". These reports include "proper care percentage, missed care events, exact time and date of mishandled events, along with total cry time for the simulation".
Crikey. There's more tech specs for the RealCare baby here.