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Barbara F. Meltz writes the Globe's Child Caring column. She is author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes, Understanding How Your Children See the World," and a frequent speaker to parent groups. Join her chat on the first and third Monday of the month at noon.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

Doesn't President Bush read my column?

Clearly President Bush is not one of my faithful readers. If he were, he would have found some other successful female entrepreneur to recognize in his State of the Union address. Not that Julie Aigner-Clark isn't noteworthy for her entrepreneurial skills. She did, after all, start The Baby Einstein Company on only $5,000 and grow it into a multi-million dollar, home-based operation that boasted $17 million in sales in 2001, the year Disney bought it in an all-cash transaction. Last year, sales were estimated at $1 billion.

But let's not forget what she's selling, for heaven's sake. Videos for babies! Hello?

She's made her fortune off the backs of babies, or more correctly, off the dollars parents are willing to spend to do anything to give their baby every possible advantage, including putting them in front of so-called educational videos.

Let me be clear: There is no proof to back up Baby Einstein claims that babies will be smarter if they watch videos.

What's more, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that children 2 and younger not watch any TV at all. Is it possible the President doesn't know that?

He probably also doesn't know that the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint last year with the FTC charging Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby, another video marketing to babies, with false and deceptive advertising. The complaint is pending.

For more on why TV isn't good for babies, here's an earlier column of mine.

Posted by Barbara Meltz at 03:11 PM
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