Hospital Hands Out Books to New Parents to Encourage Them to Read to Their Babies

At the Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, new parents get to bring home more than just a baby. They are also gifted a children’s book to encourage them to begin reading to their child at a young age and continue reading to their kids as they grow older.

A 2020 survey found that 45 percent of parents believe it’s not important to start reading to a child until they are two years old. A 2019 study out of Ohio State University found that four million children under the age of three in the United States have never had a book read to them in their entire lifetime.

This movement is an attempt to remedy that situation by reminding parents how important reading to their children is, especially at a young age, so that they can learn to love the activity long before they’re capable of reading a book on their own.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Oksana Kuzmina

“You should be reading to your children basically from the moment they’re born,” says Dr. Jenny Demos, associate medical director of the Liberty Birthing Center. “They like listening to your voice and hearing words and seeing pictures on the book, and it makes reading a special time, so they grow to enjoy it.”

The Christ Hospital Health Network has partnered with Pampers and Scholastic to fund their “Surprise and Delight” program, bringing diverse books in a variety of languages to new parents and their babies. On specific celebratory days, the hospital also gives away limited edition onesies.

“They like to hear those words and see the pictures and start to make those connections as they become more developmentally aware,” Demos says.

Photo: Adobe Stock/EVERST

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Pampers has also partnered with the March of Dimes and communities in other cities across the country for their Pampers Bright Beginnings program in the hopes of making a difference in the health and well-being of American children.

“At Pampers, we believe a baby’s earliest days are essential toward shaping a bright beginning,” Sarah Pasquinucci, senior communications director for P&G North America Baby Care, writes in a news release. “Through Pampers Bright Beginnings, our goal is to help every baby experience the benefits of being read to from birth and we are thrilled to be able to achieve this at a local level through our partnership with The Christ Hospital.”

The Christ Hospital Health Network began handing out books at the beginning of 2021 and expects to give away about 3,400 books this year.

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