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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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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

More bad news for Baby Einstein

Babies who watch "Baby Einstein" have slower language development than babies who do not.

That's the up-to-the-minute word in baby language research, so hot, the LA Times violated a press embargo and printed the story today instead of tomorrow.

According to a just-released study, every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos slows down an infant's vocabularly development by six to eight words compared to infants of the same age who do not watch. The research was done by Dimitri Christakis and Andrew Meltzoff of the University of Washington in Seattle and Seattle Children's Research Hospital Institute.

This is just one more controversiy for the so-called baby videos and DVDs. The Boston-based child advocacy organization, Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood, has filed suit with the Federal Trade Commission, saying Baby Einstein and other baby DVD's and videos make false advertising claims, thus enticing parents to buy them thinking they will boost learning. The American Academy of Pediatrics' has warned parents against video-viewing for babies under age 2.

Advice to parents who want to help their baby get ahead? Read to him or her from birth. That's far more likely to help with preliteracy than anything else you can do.

Posted by Barbara Meltz at 02:17 PM
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