Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2007
CSB offers classes to parent clients
Expert advice: Move baby to the 'big tub' when he can sit up by himself.
YOUNGSTOWN Parenting classes are offered to clients of Mahoning County Children Services Board but some never attend, such as the mother whose baby was found face down in a bathtub, the instructor says.
Dorothy Staafsaid she teaches an eight-week course at CSB for young and old parents who have an open case at the agency. The general instruction classes meet once a week and cover a wide-range of topics, including bathing and self-esteem, she said.
Staaf said she would not comment on the open case 21-year-old Shareitta Buffington has at CSB but did note that the young mother was not taking parenting classes.
A warrant charging Buffington with child endangering was issued Monday. Her 71/2-month-old daughter died Monday evening after being left unattended and found face down in a bathtub at their Almyra Avenue home last Friday. Buffington's 2-year-old daughter was also in the tub.
City Prosecutor Jay Macejko said Buffington's open case at CSB involves the 2-year-old. He declined to elaborate.
Denise Stewart, CSB executive director, said the child-care classes offered cover the basics, things that some adults take for granted, such as not leaving a child unattended in a bath tub.
Here's the problem
Stewart said many of the young parents her agency comes across did not have good experiences as children and carry that on with their own offspring. Parenting classes are not mandatory unless court ordered, she said.
Some local judges order that young mothers or fathers convicted of child endangering or similar crimes attend parenting classes.
Stewart and Staaf said this area has several parenting classes available Help Me Grow (at the county board of education); D&E Counseling; Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic; Mahoning County Juvenile Court and more.
A U.S. Department of Education Web site describes 7-month-old babies as being able to sit up straight "for a moment" without falling over.
The experts advise moving a baby to "the big tub" when he is able to sit up by himself. Get the soap, washcloth, towels, shampoo and toys together beforehand and, after the water is tested to see how hot it is, place the baby in the tub.
In bold letters on the Web site, the experts advise: "Never leave your baby alone when he is in the tub. Do not turn away from your baby when he is in the tub."
A good rule, the experts said, is always keep one hand on your baby the whole time he is in the tub or he could slip under the water and drown or slip and hit his head.