News

Baby seat with iPad holder stirs controversy

Baby seat with iPad holder stirs controversy

AN iPAD FOR A BABY?: Advocacy groups are raising concerns over a seat for infants that includes a tablet holder. Photo: Reuters

By Daniel Lovering

BOSTON (Reuters) – An advocacy group called on toy maker Fisher-Price to stop selling a baby seat designed to hold an iPad at the front, saying the product encourages parents to leave infants alone to watch screens that could be harmful.

The bouncy seat with an iPad holder is the “ultimate electronic babysitter” and blocks a baby’s view of the world, undermining the child’s interaction with caregivers, said the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, based in Boston, in a statement.

The group cited research by the American Academy of Pediatrics that suggested screen time for children under age 2 was linked to language delays, sleep disturbance and learning problems later in childhood. There was no evidence it was advantageous, the group said in the statement, which was issued on Tuesday.

Babies left alone with iPads also could be deprived of activities shown to be beneficial to brain development, such as hands-on creative play and positive interaction with adults, the group said.

“By manufacturing a device to restrain infants in front of a screen, even when they’re too young to sit up, Fisher-Price actually discourages interactions that are crucial to learning and healthy development,” Dr. Susan Linn, the group’s director, said in the statement.

“Babies thrive when they’re talked to, played with, and held — not when they’re alone with a screen,” Linn said.

Juliette Reashor, a spokeswoman for Fisher-Price, a brand owned by toy manufacturer Mattel, said in a statement on Wednesday that consumers who purchased the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat for iPad gave it positive reviews “that show strong parent involvement and support.”

The seat was never meant to be an educational product for children and is only available online, she said.

“We wanted to offer it as yet another option for those parents who want the added feature of engaging in age-appropriate content with their children,” Reashor said in the statement.

The infant seat includes a mirror that can hold an iPad, providing “another way to stimulate and engage baby while protecting your device from baby’s sticky fingers and preventing unintentional navigating to other apps,” a product description on Fisher-Price’s website said.

The company offers free apps to use with the seat that feature “soft, soothing sounds and nature scenes, black-and-white images and high-contrast patterns that help develop eye-tracking skills,” it said. Other apps for older babies introduce letters and numbers through sing-along tunes, sounds and friendly characters.

The apps’ visual content ends after 10-12 minutes to help parents keep track of their child’s viewing time, the website said.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)

Latest Headlines

11 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: ‘Chewbacca Mom’ and ‘Star Wars’ director J.J. Abrams take a drive

19-overlay-7

Just three happy Chewbaccas having fun in a car together.

14 hours ago in Sports

Congressman charges NFL with wrongdoing

pallone1614461738670

A senior House Democrat has found that National Football League officials improperly sought to influence a government study on the link between football and brain disease.

14 hours ago in Sports

Tom Brady continues his fight with NFL

25-overlay-6

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Monday asked a U.S. appeals court to reconsider its ruling reinstating his "Deflategate" four-game suspension, saying the decision runs contrary to federal labor law.

14 hours ago in Music

Ozzy gets a train

ozzy420467453452

The rocker is to have a Midland Metro tram named after him in his native Birmingham, England, and Ozzy will meet the caboose on Thursday.

14 hours ago in Sports

Pavelski, Ward carry Sharks within a win of finals

sharksbluesREUTERS

Joe Pavelski scored his second goal of the game 16 seconds into the third period as the San Jose Sharks beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3 on Monday to put them one win away from their first Stanley Cup finals.