"Baby Einstein" Videos Probably Don't Work, Might Even Hurt

A new study quoted by the LA Times says that the popular “Baby Einstein” videos don’t work—and may even stunt your child’s vocabulary.

From the LATimes:

For every hour a day that babies 8 to 16 months old were shown such popular series as “Brainy Baby” or “Baby Einstein,” they knew six to eight fewer words than other children, the study found.

Parents aiming to put their babies on the fast track, even if they are still working on walking, each year buy hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the videos.

Unfortunately it’s all money down the tubes, according to Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Christakis and his colleagues surveyed 1,000 parents in Washington and Minnesota and determined their babies’ vocabularies using a set of 90 common baby words, including mommy, nose and choo-choo.

The researchers found that 32% of the babies were shown the videos, and 17% of those were shown them for more than an hour a day, according to the study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

The videos, which are designed to engage a baby’s attention, hop from scene to scene with minimal dialogue and include mesmerizing images, like a lava lamp.

None of us have babies or anything, but we’ve never known anyone who got smarter staring at a lava lamp. The study says parents who read to their children or talk to them have better vocabularies. “I would rather babies watch ‘American Idol’ than these videos,” Christakis said. Harsh.

‘Baby Einstein’: a bright idea? [LA Times] (Thanks, James!)

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