Summer-ready RealCare Babies in 5 simple steps

We’re approaching summer again, which means most RealCare Baby® infant simulators are being put away for a well-deserved rest. Before storing your Babies for the summer, follow these 5 simple steps. Doing so will help ensure that your Babies are ready for summer break – and that you can enjoy a smooth start to your RealCare Program this fall.

1. Give your Babies one final full charge.

  • Baby should be charged overnight, then unplugged – don’t leave Baby plugged in all summer. Ideally, your Babies should be charged for a few hours every 3 months. Haven’t used Baby since January or February? Now is the time to charge them overnight.
  • FYI: The batteries will gradually drain out on their own. Do not be surprised if the Babies start to make a popping sound while in storage. This is an indicator that the batteries are giving off their final amount of charge. Don’t worry; this is normal and the popping sound can last for a few days.
  • You can follow along with the “RCB Battery Maintenance” instructions here.

2. Wash the clothing and clean the Baby.

  • For Baby: Disinfectant wipes, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers and acne cream with sunlight are all great ways to get ink and other common stains off of Baby’s vinyl
  • For Baby’s clothing and supplies: Baby’s diapers and clothing can be machine washed in cold, gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. We recommend line drying to prevent wear and tear.
  • Get more great cleaning tips here.

3. Place your Babies in plastic bags to protect the vinyl.

  • Be sure the bag does not have any print that can bleed onto the vinyl.

4. Store your Babies in a cool, dry place.

  • Baby should be stored indoors, in the plastic bag, for optimum conditions. If this isn’t possible, every attempt should be made to keep Baby dry and clean.
  • If Baby is stored in a very cold or hot environment, allow 24 hours for Baby to adjust to a moderate temperature before use.
  • Dramatic changes in temperature can cause water condensation inside Baby. Allow time for the condensation to evaporate before use.

5. BONUS TIP: Jump-start your fall lesson planning  by downloading our free career exploration curriculum today!

We know how important it is to provide career exploration opportunities to students. That’s why we created the Using the RealCare Program for Career Exploration, which contains 6 lessons that use our RealCare products (Drug-Affected Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby, Pregnancy Profile, RealCare Baby and more) as springboards to career exploration lessons.

(Don’t have all the products? No problem! They’re not required to use the curriculum).

Click here to learn more and download the curriculum yourself.

Learn more by watching our on-demand webinar: How to Prepare RealCare Baby for Summer Break:

Additional Product Support resources like video tutorials, documentation, webinars and FAQs can be found in our online Product Support Center. If you need further support, contact our Product Support Team by calling 800.830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

Why Did RealCare Baby Shutdown?

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Did you know that there are four ways that RealCare Baby can turn off before its scheduled stop time? Ever look at your simulation report and see “______ Shutdown” and wondered what it means? The four different methods that can end a simulation early are: Abuse Shutdown, Battery Shutdown, Emergency Shutdown, Neglect Shutdown. Here is what causes the Baby to trigger each
specific shutdown.

Abuse Shutdown – Occurs when the Baby has been mishandled 24 times. That includes head supports, rough handling and shaken baby. Once Baby triggers 24 mishandle events the Baby will turn off.

Battery Shutdown – Battery level drained out enough to stop the simulation.

Emergency Shutdown – This occurs when the button that is above the red light is held down for 6 continuous chimes. This is manual, it will NEVER happen on its own.

Neglect Shutdown – If the Baby does not respond to an ID within 12 continuous hours it will turn itself off. So if the student gets the wrong ID, of the ID does not get programmed, it will turn off in 12 hours.

Visit our RealCare Baby Product Support page for videos, guides, FAQs and troubleshooting tips!

Student Workbooks as an Effective Instructional Resource

Educators have debated the effectiveness of worksheets, handouts and workbooks for years.  Similar to technology use in the classroom, efficacy all depends on how they are used.  Here are a few nuggets to contemplate from a review of literature on the subject:

  • Graphic organizers help learners to understand tasks by nurturing active participation, decrease dependency on rote learning and memorization, tap into learners’ prior knowledge, and show association between concepts to build new understanding (Kirylo & Millet, 2000).
  • Worksheets help students to construct knowledge, help to assess students and get feedback, are used as supplemental material to textbooks in authentic lessons, and build scaffolding for  some teaching strategies (Demircioglu & Kaymakci, 2011).
  • Using Multiple Intelligences learning theory, teachers should vary instruction and assessment strategy because all students do not learn and exhibit learning the same way (Smith 2002, 2008) Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences.

We are happy to announce two new student workbooks now available as supplemental resources to the RealCare Baby Simulation Experience and the Pregnancy Profile Simulation.

The RealCare Baby Experience Workbook includes all handouts needed for the simulation experience. Rather than photocopying dozens of pages, it is all ready for use in this handy workbook. Graphic organizers, rubrics and quizzes are included. Students will also complete journal and self-assessment exercises to reflect on their learning.  The completed workbook is a great addition to student portfolios for highlighting this project.

The My Life Student Workbook is a companion product to the Pregnancy Profile simulation experience. Rather than photocopying and assembling these workbooks in class, you can use that valuable time to teach the key objectives. Many of the handouts involve setting goals, reflecting on what a teen pregnancy would do to those goals and journal on a wide variety of questions relating to the impact of an unplanned pregnancy. These exercises strengthen student writing and research skills. The completed workbook provides a meaningful take-home manual that students can keep and refer to.

Follow this link to learn more about these effective student workbooks and how you can use them in your program.

Does RealCare Baby Adjust for Daylight Saving Time?

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Daylight Saving Time begins on March 12th, and many might be wondering “Does RealCare Baby adjust for DST?” The answer is no, during the simulation Baby will not adjust to Daylight Saving Time. If you have a specific Quiet Time for Sunday the 12th, you will want to adjust the time and possibly the length of the quiet time. Let’s say you need a Quiet Time to begin at noon on Sunday. When it is noon in real time, Baby thinks it is 11 am, so you will need to set your Quiet Time to begin at 11 am.

Once the simulation has ended you may ask yourself, “how do I adjust Baby so it is on real time?” The answer is, you do not have to make any adjustments. RealCare Baby takes the time from your Control Center, and your Control Center takes the time from the clock in your computer. As long as your computer has adjusted to DST (most computers do), then your Babies will be on the correct time when you program the next simulation. Double check the clock in your computer after March 12th, if it is on the correct time, the Babies will also be on the correct time.

Visit our RealCare Baby Product Support Page for Videos, Guides, FAQs and Troubleshooting Documents to help you manage your RealCare Program!

Tips for Programming Quiet Times for RealCare Baby® 3

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Quiet Times are a function that allows the instructor to set a specific time during a simulation where the RealCare Baby will not ask for any care. This is a discretionary function, and does not have to be used unless the instructor feels there is an event that warrants a Quiet Time. Here are some tips when setting the Quiet Times.

  1. Quiet Times can only be used up to three times during a simulation, and each Quiet Time has a maximum of 12 hours each. There is no way to increase the number of Quiet Times or increase the total hours of Quiet Times. So, if you use the Quiet Times, use them wisely.
  2. Quiet Times cannot be programmed at the same time a simulation begins. So if you set a simulation to start at 3 pm, you need to program the Quiet Time to begin at 4 pm.
  3. If programming an evening Quiet Time that will begin any time after midnight, be sure to set the Quiet Time to begin the following day. Example: if you have a simulation beginning on Friday, at 5 pm and you want the Quiet Time to begin at 1 am, you have to set the Quiet Time to begin on Saturday at 1 am. Remember, Friday ends at midnight.
  4. On rare occasions we have encountered instructors who use Quiet Times and Day Care during the same simulation. If you put the Baby into Day Care mode in the morning, but have an afternoon Quiet Time, you must end the Day Care BEFORE the Quiet Time starts. Example: Let’s say the students bring the Baby to you in the morning and you turn on the Day Care mode, but there is a 3 pm Quiet Time. You MUST end the Day Care BEFORE 2:59 pm. If you end the Day Care any time after 3 pm, you will also stop the Day Care.
  5. Finally, remind the students that in a Quiet Time the Baby will not ask for care, but the Baby WILL cry if mishandled (head supports, rough handling, shaken baby, wrong position). Quiet Time does not mean totally quiet; students are still responsible for how they handle Baby in a Quiet Time.

Full details on Quiet Time and Day Care modes can be found in the RealCare® Control Center Software Help Guide

For more RealCare Baby product support, including videos and FAQs check out our product support page.

Making a Difference through Family & Consumer Sciences: A RealCare Baby® User Spotlight

by Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

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Finance. Housing and interior design. Food science. Nutrition. Personal wellness. Human development. The life and career skills that Family and Consuner Sciences (FCS) educators equip students with can have a significant impact on their lives. In the two decades since RealCare Baby® first made its debut, we’ve had the pleasure of working with many dedicated FCS professionals who were using RealCare Baby to help prepare young people for their future. One such person is Amanda McGovern, FCS teacher at Battle High School in Columbia, MO.

Since September 2013, McGovern has used Baby to provide her Child Development 1 & 2 students with authentic, hands-on learning experiences as they discuss human development. As a result, McGovern’s 14- to 18-year-old students leave the classroom more prepared for children in the future and for careers related to child care.

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“The Babies have become so much more than just a project for these students,” said McGovern, who has 11 RealCare Baby 3 infant simulators and one RealCare® Pregnancy Profile® Simulator. “They have really become a great discussion piece for choosing to parent or building their resumes for jobs.”

Now, McGovern incorporates these experiential learning tools and the accompanying curricula regularly, sending Babies home with students for the weekend and also using them during in-class “Baby Bootcamp” sessions. During these sessions, McGovern turns all 11 Babies to demonstration mode and students practice changing their clothes and getting them in and out of car seats while addressing their frequent needs.

“I love the authentic learning, and the reports are incredible,” said McGovern. “I use the provided curriculum frequently to engage students and provide multiple means of learning. It’s easily integrated into classes and provides a great variety of activities. Students are challenged to do this project and take of this Baby for longer than most have ever cared for a real child. The experience takes them out of their comfort zone, and the learning is authentic. It really makes an impact on students now and in the future.”

The American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences has declared July 14-21 “Making a Difference with Family and Consumer Sciences” week as part of their efforts to advocate for FCS programs. To learn about more inspiring FCS professionals and what you can do to advocate for FCS, visit the AAFCS website here

Keep your Babies looking like new with these RealCare Baby cleaning tips [Free download]

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Anyone who has ever sent RealCare Baby out for a simulation experience knows that eventually, Baby is going to need to be washed. But what are the best ways to safely and effectively clean RealCare Baby infant simulators?

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To wash Baby’s clothing, use cold water and ensure the washer is set to a gentle cycle. You can tumble dry the clothing on a low cycle, but we recommend line drying or air fluffing to reduce wear and tear.

To remove dirt stains from Baby’s vinyl, we recommend the following commercially available cleaning products:

  • Goop® hand cleaner with pumice
  • GoJo® orange pumice hand cleaner
  • Clean® Magic Eraser
  • Acne cream
  • Baking soda
  • Soft Scrub® cleanser without bleach
  • Oxi Clean®
  • Mild dish soap
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol

To remove ink stains from Baby’s vinyl:

  • Place a small amount of Clearasil Acne Cream (10% Benzyl Peroxide) on the stained area, then leave Baby in direct sunlight for 1-3 days. Wash stained areas with a combination of Goop or GoJo and water.

Please note that removing ink stains from Baby’s vinyl has proved to be much more difficult than removing dirt stains.

For a complete list of cleaning suggestions, download this document.

Do you have a question for our Product Support Team? Contact us by calling 1-800-830-1416, option 2, or emailing productsupport@realityworks.com.

Trade Up & Go Green: How our RealCare® Baby Trade-In Program Impacts the Environment

By Emily Kuhn, Realityworks Marketing Automation Specialist

Realityworks, Inc., is proud to be one of several Eau Claire, Wisconsin businesses to have been awarded the Green Business Award by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce last month. We earned the recognition for our commitment to green business practices and efforts to ensure that our company – from the way we manufacture our products to the methods of recycling we offer customers who upgrade – follows environmentally sustainable practices.

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Here at Realityworks, we are constantly looking at the impact of and waste produced by our products and reevaluating as needed to determine where improvements can be made. Why? We believe that it’s our responsibility as a company to help make the world a better place, and we work to accomplish this through our programs and our everyday actions.

Those actions include redesigning products in the middle of a life cycle when needed, and rewarding customers who return old products to us for recycling.

For example, the latest generation RealCare® Baby 3 relies on rechargeable batteries for operation rather than alkaline ones. This redesign has not only saved customers money, but reduced the use and disposal of more than 192,000 C batteries per year.

Additionally, the design of new RealCare Babies allows programming to be done on a computer rather than a hand-held unit, reducing unnecessary plastic and electronic materials. This eliminated over 2,000 standalone boxes per year – a dramatic reduction of approximately 2,000 pounds of plastic and electronics waste annually.

Furthermore, our current RealCare Baby Trade-Up Program offers customers the chance to earn up to $100 in credit towards the latest generation RealCare Baby 3 for every old model they trade in. We even offer an additional reward for those who physically mail their infant simulators to us for recycling!

Through this program, we have recycled more than 40,000 pounds of materials to date – some of which has been used to make recycled lawn chairs! It’s definitely proven to be a successful way of collecting and properly disposing of unused materials that may have ended up in a landfill.

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Our mission clearly states that “our community, country, and planet can look to us as responsible corporate citizens,” and our RealCare Baby Trade-Up Program is just one of the ways in which we strive to achieve that mission. Click here for details about our trade-up program and learn how your old Babies can earn credit and help you go green.

What do you do to help ensure your programs and actions are environmentally sustainable? Share your stories and ideas in the comments below.

3 Ways to Ensure a Successful RealCare Baby Program This School Year

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

By now, many educators around the country have returned to their classrooms and removing their RealCare® Baby infant simulators from storage in preparation for a new round of simulation experiences. Before sending your Babies out, review the following steps to make sure you are properly prepared.

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First, make sure that you are using the most recent version of Control Center Software. Due to summer updates, upgraded computers, etc., many instructors return to their classrooms to discover that their Control Center Software is missing from their computer or they’re using an outdated version. If this happens to you, rest assured that there is an easy fix: You can install the most recent version by clicking here. This version of Control Center Software works with RealCare Baby II-Plus and RealCare Baby 3, and the link bypasses the need for an installation CD.

Second, take some time to reacquaint yourself with how Baby functions. The best way to do this is to watch this 20-minute RealCare Program Tutorial, which covers installing the Control Center Software, charging Babies, adding Babies to the software, programming them for a simulation, printing a report and more.

Third, review our comprehensive Product Support Center. This online center contains a plethora of resources for RealCare Baby users, including printable how-to documents, videos and FAQs.

Looking for additional RealCare Baby resources as the school year commences? Check out:

RealCare Baby users, do you have any other tips for educators who are just starting their programs? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

15 RealCare® Baby Tips to Help Your Program Succeed This School Year

Across the country, educators are returning to their classrooms and preparing for the 2015-2016 academic year. Classrooms are being organized, lesson plans reviewed and RealCare® Baby infant simulators are being removed from summer storage. Whether you are a new or experienced user, here are 15 RealCare Baby tips from seasoned Baby users to help your program succeed this school year!

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  1. Before deploying Baby each week, charge it overnight to ensure a full 7 day’s use.
  2. During your unit on infant health and safety, invite a guest speaker to present information on the dangers of leaving infants unattended in hot cars.
  3. Use Mr. Clean® Magic Erasers® to easily remove dirt and grime from Baby’s vinyl.
  4. When covering teen pregnancy prevention, invite a real teen parent to share their personal story about being a teen parent and the challenges presented by the situation.
  5. Give your students access to the RealCare Baby Guide app (available for iPhone and Android) so they can easily access “how-to” info, FAQs and video guides 24/7 to help them with their care experience.
  6. Arrange for your class to tour the local hospital’s maternity ward to show students what will happen when they become parents.
  7. Have your students visit Costo, Target or Wal-Mart to calculate the price of 1 month’s worth of diapers, formula and other infant necessities to understand the cost of having an infant.
  8. Number all accessories that come with each Baby to easily track parts.
  9. Take advantage of our storage solutions, which include small and large carts as well as soft-sided cases that both store and charge Baby.
  10. To teach the cost of caring for an infant, have your students create a monthly baby budget that factors in diapers, food, transportation and child care.
  11. Encourage students to journal about their experience caring for Baby, then share excerpts with their classmates.
  12. Encourage the parents of your student caregivers to make their child’s simulation as realistic as possible by requiring them to complete basic household chores or take care of meals while caring for Baby.
  13. Help your school raise money for additional Babies by arranging for community members to “adopt” new Babies. Provide those community members with “birth certificates” and subsequent photos of their Baby making a difference in your classroom.
  14. Encourage your students to go at least one public outing while caring for Baby to give them a glimpse of what traveling with an infant can be like.
  15. To complete your students’ parenting experience, encourage them (both males and females) to don our Pregnancy Profile for a specified time period prior to taking Baby home.

How are you making the most of your RealCare program this school year? Share your tips and ideas in the comments!