'Baby Think it Over' Program

In Alabama about 8,000 babies are born each year to teenage mothers.

The state ranks among the top ten states in the country with the highest teen pregnancy rates.

Now, schools are getting involved to help turn those numbers around by using technology and a taste of the real world to give teenagers a realistic idea of what life with a baby is really like.

"It was hard, like cause it was crying. I had to take it everywhere I went," says student Shanderika Mellion

It's not quite the real thing, but educators hope it's enough to leave a lasting impression.

Dorothy Lowe with Russell County High School says the object is to, "let the students know that there is more than what you see. You have to be responsible for children, and if you're not ready to be responcible you may need to take a second thought in having children at an early age."

The idea behind the 'Baby Think It Over Project' is to encourage teenagers to do just that - think it over.

Just like real life, every baby is different. In this case, the teacher determines how much attention each doll will need.

Mattie Arrington of Children & Family Services says, "The teacher or our agency can program the doll to behave either cranky, mild, or moderate...the doll will cry in intervals."

It's all part of the plan to teach one of life's hardest lessons the easier way.

This program is in hundreds of schools all over Alabama and the rest of the United States.

The dolls Russell County High School is using are nearly 15-years-old.

The company that manufactures them says the latest dolls on the market are even more impressive. They even send messages directly to the teachers' computer about the students' behavior with the babies.