Wait, Fisher Price Is Selling an ‘iPad Baby’ Bouncy Seat? Come On.

The company's selling an $80 baby bouncy seat you can clip an iPad to.

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Fisher Price

Well this is slightly alarming, given the carefully considered — and recently reiterated — screen time recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics: Fisher Price is selling an $80 baby bouncy seat that includes a holder specially designed to dangle one of Apple‘s illustrious tablets right over your baby’s face.

I had no idea this existed until I chanced on this piece by L.A. Times tech writer Chris O’Brien in my Twitter feed this afternoon, which notes there’s a petition, no surprise, that’s making the rounds protesting what seems to me, speaking as the parent of a 16-month-old, kind of a harebrained idea.

Forget the advocacy group for a minute because advocacy alone isn’t an argument, let’s talk about the AAP’s position on babies-slash-toddlers and screen time. After noting that parents should establish “screen-free” zones at home and that older children and teens “should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day,” the AAP writes:

Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Your child’s brain is still physically developing long after birth, and how that development plays out, cognitively speaking, is impacted by the nature of the input the brain receives. You might recall this bubbled up back in 2007, when the Baby Einstein controversy broke, the concern being that parents were plopping their babies and toddlers in front of what amounted to classical music videos, using the videos as babysitters, all the while assuming the videos were making their kids smarter. A study at the time suggested the videos negatively impacted children’s cognitive development.

Just this year, a reassessment of the Baby Einstein study found that its results were suspect, stating that “firm conclusions are difficult to draw from the … data set and that any effect size estimates for media exposure and language development are small (if not trivial) rather than large.” Still, the researchers added that “the issues surrounding exposure to media and intellectual development will continue to be a subject of debate, given the importance of early cognitive development and the widespread availability of media in contemporary society.” In other words, we don’t know what we don’t know, but we should take the issue seriously given how prevalent media’s become today.

Fisher Price, for its part, told FastCompany in a statement that it doesn’t “position the Apptivity Seat, or any of our other infant seats, as educational products for children,” defending the product by noting it includes a “time-out feature that only allows for 10 minutes of activity with our app before requiring a manual reset.” The company adds:

The Apptivity Seat is a niche product that is only available online. Though we knew the product was not for everyone – we have over a dozen seats from which parents can choose – we wanted to offer it as yet another option for those parents who want to the added feature of engaging in age-appropriate content with their children.

Trouble is, the AAP would argue there is no such thing as “age-appropriate content” for children under two, so unless you’re planning to strap your three-, four-, five- or 10-year-old into a bouncy seat designed for babies, erring on the side of caution until we have better answers about the psychological science seems wisest.

6 comments
mezwiz
mezwiz

To sirhomealot, while I agree that this product can be used responsibly, a lot of parents DON'T exercise limits/restrictions when it comes to letting their kids use these devices.  I ate out with our daughters at a restaurant a few weeks ago and a mother and father were both on their iphones while their daughter was playing on their ipad.  All while eating dinner.  Another time we ate out, I couldn't hear what my girls were saying because a family in a booth behind us was watching a movie on their ipad and had the volume so loud I could hear every line.  Lastly, we went over to a friend's house just last week for a family night.  They put a movie in and next thing I know both parents were playing on their phones.  Social interaction is becoming more of an art form and people are choosing to sit at home and play on their computers rather than interact with others.  In my opinion, nothing good can come from this.  By the way, ever seen the movie Wall-E?  Reminds me of the wobble people in their chairs w/ t.v., eating frankenfood.

concerneddoctor
concerneddoctor

Radiation HEALTH HAZARD ALERT!

The microwave radiation used in all wireless, mobile device communication has proven harmful to human health.

The World Health Organization has warned it is 'possiblity carcinogenic," and other organizations have issued even stronger warnings - see the Seletun Scientific Statement.

Yes, the microwave radiation levels are within safety standards, are considered low, by some, and are non-thermal, but there is evidence these levels causs damage to DNA (Drs. Lai and Singh), leakage of the blood brain-barrier (Dr Salford, Lund University) and cognitive impairment (Dr Mosgoeller, University of Vienna Medical Centre). There are also thousands of scientific studies reporting increased cancer risks and more.

Nobel co-laureate Dr Devra Davis has warmed that children, and babies, are at greater risk due to thinner skulls and more aqueous brain tissue and advises not to use ipads anywhere around children.

Why anyone would allow a baby in the same room as a wirelessly-connected ipad, let alone within a few feet of their child.

This exposure may be a factor in the development of autism, and a factor in cardiac symptoms and seizures.

Someone please ask Fischer-Price if they are covered for potential health claims - and show us the evidence that this level of radiation has been tested for adverse effects on children - according to my research it has not.

sirhomealot
sirhomealot

Oh relax. Man, the amount of hand-wringing over this product is ludicrous. Yes you can put your kid and your iPad together with it. Yes, parents do this all the time anyway. Yes, parents shouldn't use the iPad or the TV as a babysitter. But guess what? Just because parents buy one of these things doesn't mean they will dump junior in it and then leave them there for hours on end. Just like it's possible to use any number of potentially harmful things in a responsible manner e.g. alcohol, driving a car, using a computer, this product too can be used responsibly. And while this might shock you, despite what the AAP says, sticking your kid in this chair for 20 minutes now and then while you prepare dinner or help another child with homework WILL NOT DESTROY YOUR KID. 

mattpeckham
mattpeckham moderator

@sirhomealot No need to rebut because we're not so far apart. I'm just of the "err on the side of caution" mindset, absent more conclusive research.