New cars come with instructions. So do ovens, toasters, VCRs and televisions.
But each day new Utah mothers take babies home from the hospital with only a little information on how to deal with didies.Few, if any, parents leave with a written guide on how to weather the weariness, make up for mistakes and roll with the ups, downs and disappointments of parenthood.
Parents soon will be given written "survival tips" in the form of a guidebook intended to help parents learn to love their baby.
"One way to stop child abuse is to give some help right in the beginning - to help parents understand the joy" in being a parent, said Darlene Hutchison, handbook committee chairwoman
"Every child should be able to grow up with happy memories. We are trying to help parents create happy memories for those children."
The booklet, "Welcome to Parenthood - A Family Guide," is the creation of the Utah Chapter of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse.
It arose out of a mounting concern of the increasing number of child-abuse cases reported. Child protective services agencies confirm that more than 1 million children are abused and neglected each year in America.
"The public is becoming outraged to what is happening to the most vulnerable segment of our society - our youths," said Hutchison, former state PTA president and a member of the state Board of Education.
Hutchison said that 10 to 15 years ago if an adult saw a parent hitting a child, he likely wouldn't get involved.
Today she believes most people would intervene.
The guidebook, which includes chapters on everything from bonding, crying and caring, to siblings, safety and survival, will be distributed immediately through hospitals in Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties. Attached will be a list of agencies parents can call if trouble arises.
The committee wants to get it in the hands of all new mothers.
"You are now starting out on a life experience unlike any other," a congratulatory preface tells the new mother. "Whether you are a first-time parent or the parent of many children, you will make mistakes, you will have joys, heartaches, weariness, happiness, ups, downs, hopes and disappointments.
"But like any masterpiece," the preface reads, "the brush strokes only add to the majesty of the creation. Remember, only you could create this special human being."
The guidebook was made possible through contributions from the Division of Family Services, Evans Communications, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Intermountain Health Care, the Utah Jazz and the New York Chapter of the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse.