SOURCE: First 5 California

September 13, 2007 11:30 ET

New Study Shows First 5 California's Kit for New Parents Effective at Building Better Parenting Skills

Free Toolkit Helps Answer Health, Parenting Questions

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - September 13, 2007) - Mothers who used First 5 California's Kit for New Parents demonstrated improved parenting skills and a greater understanding of their child's needs, according to the results of a three-year study published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health. The Kit for New Parents is the first-of-its-kind comprehensive parent education resource that is distributed at no cost to California parents and caregivers.

According to the study, 94 percent of mothers who used the Kit said it was a helpful resource for providing important health and parenting information. Eighty-seven percent of mothers reported using the Kit within two months after receiving it. They turned to the Kit for information on specific issues, including child safety practices, infant learning, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, smoking, health care and childcare.

"A top priority for First 5 California is making sure parents have access to up-to-date parenting information," said Kris Perry, executive director of First 5 California. "The Kit for New Parents is a high-quality, free educational tool that parents can reference for quick and easy answers to their most common questions."

The study found that mothers who used the Kit were more likely than mothers who did not use it to take additional steps to childproof their homes; read to their infants; enroll their infants in consistent medical care; and practice safer bottle-feeding.

"We saw significant gains in parenting knowledge among English-speaking mothers who used the Kit, and that effect nearly doubled among Spanish-speaking moms," said Dr. Linda Neuhauser, a professor at the School of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley and lead author of the study.

Mothers weren't the only ones who benefited from this high-quality information. Fifty-three percent of participants indicated they shared the Kit with their partners.

First 5 California launched its groundbreaking parent education campaign in 2001 to provide important information on a child's health and development to parents and caregivers. Nearly 2.5 million Kits for New Parents have been distributed at no cost to parents and caregivers throughout California since the program's inception. The innovative program has led four other states -- Alabama, Arizona, Kentucky and Pennsylvania -- to adopt a similar approach.

First 5 California's Kit includes an educational DVD with parenting advice from prominent child development experts and celebrities, as well as easy-to-read books and brochures. The Kit has a retail value of about $75, but is free for California parents and caregivers.

The Kit is currently available in English and Spanish, and will be available in Asian languages in 2008. Californians can receive a free Kit by calling (800) KIDS-025 (English) or 800-50-NIÑOS (Spanish).

To evaluate the Kit for New Parents' effectiveness, 462 mothers received the Kit and were interviewed prior to receiving the Kit, two months after receiving the Kit and 14 months later. Their responses were measured against 1011 mothers in a comparison group who were also interviewed at the indicated times but had not received the Kit. Participants were recruited from prenatal and postnatal programs in California. A full copy of the report is available at www.ajph.org/first_look.shtml.

About First 5 California

First 5 California, also known as the California Children and Families Commission, was established after voters passed Proposition 10 in November 1998, adding a 50 cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund education, health, childcare and other programs for expectant parents and children up to age 5. For more information please visit www.first5california.com.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Elisa Bupara
    (916) 263-1044