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)

Recent Headlines

in Local

NY issues regulations for medical marijuana program in works

Fresh
State Senator Jeff Klein, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced Thursday a deal has been reached on a medical marijuana bill

The law signed last July authorizes patients with certain diseases to be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug.

in Local

Homeless man arrested after bizarre attempted escape

Adam Smith

Police say Adam Smith climbed inside a ceiling to get away after they tried to apprehend him at Planned Parenthood of Ithaca Wednesday.

in Local

Tompkins County sheriff’s deputy charged with assault, robbery

sheriff

State Police arrested Jeremy D. Vann, 30, following a domestic incident

in Local

Sentencing delayed in upstate New York for 70’s star Cassidy

Cassidy

David Cassidy is expected to receive community service as part of DWI plea deal reached in 2014

in Local

New York State budget on the books

state leg

Senate, Assembly reached final agreements early Wednesday