A single copy of this article may be reprinted for personal, noncommercial use only.
Baby Einstein DVDs: Good for infant development?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/baby-einstein/AN01990
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus consultant
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.Jay Hoecker, M.D.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, an emeritus member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, brings valuable expertise to health information content on primary care pediatrics. He has a particular interest in infectious diseases of children.
He's a Fort Worth, Texas, native, certified as a pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was trained at Washington University's St. Louis Children's Hospital, and in infectious diseases at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1989.
"The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the availability and distribution of information, including health information about children and families," Dr. Hoecker says. "The evolution of the Web has included greater safety, privacy and accuracy over time, making the quality and access to children's health information immediate, practical and useful. I am happy to be a part of this service to patients from a trusted name in medicine, to use and foster all the good the Web has to offer children and their families."
Infant and toddler health (7)
- Baby Einstein DVDs: Good for infant development?
- Vaccination schedule: Why so many so fast?
- Baby sign language: A good idea?
- see all in Infant and toddler health
Newborn health (9)
- Newborn sleep: Should I wake my baby for feedings?
- Uncircumcised penis: Is special care needed?
- Baby poop: What's normal?
- see all in Newborn health
Infant health (19)
- Baby walkers: Are they safe?
- Baby sunscreen: What's recommended?
- Starting solids: When is the right time?
- see all in Infant health
Toddler health (5)
- Toddler speech development: Are 2-year-olds understandable?
- Terrible twos: Why are 2-year-olds so difficult?
- Discolored baby teeth: A cause for concern?
- see all in Toddler health
Baby Einstein DVDs: Good for infant development?
Is it OK to play Baby Einstein DVDs for my 6-month-old? I've heard that such programming can promote a child's development.
from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
Baby Einstein DVDs might catch your baby's attention, but screen time isn't likely to promote his or her development. In fact, an infant can learn just as much — if not more — by interacting with you or other caregivers.
Research examining the specific effects of baby DVDs and other infant programming is limited. In a 2007 study, children ages 8 months to 16 months who were exposed to baby DVDs scored lower on a language development test than did babies who had no screen time. A 2009 study of children ages 2 months to 4 years showed that turning on the television reduced verbal interaction between parents and children — which may delay language development. In addition, a 2010 study found no evidence that children ages 1 to 2 learned words highlighted in a Baby Einstein DVD. In contrast, research has shown that regularly reading to young children boosts language ability for both babies and toddlers.
Many pediatricians discourage screen time for children younger than age 2. Instead of relying on Baby Einstein DVDs, concentrate on proven ways to promote infant development — such as talking, playing, singing and reading to your baby. Even if your baby doesn't understand what you're saying or grasp the plot of a story, he or she will soak in your words and revel in your attention. These simple activities form the foundation for speech and thought.
Still, Baby Einstein DVDs aren't necessarily off-limits. If your family enjoys this kind of programming, make conscious decisions about how to use it. Turn it on only occasionally — and encourage interaction by watching the programming together.Next question
Vaccination schedule: Why so many so fast?
- Mendelsohn AL, et al. Infant television and video exposure associated with limited parent-child verbal interactions in low socioeconomic status households. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2008;162:411.
- Chonchaiya W, et al. Television viewing associates with delayed language development. Acta Paediatrica. 2008;97:977.
- Zimmerman FJ, et al. Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. The Journal of Pediatrics. 2007;151:364.
- Armbruster BB, et al. A child becomes a reader: Birth through preschool. The National Institute for Literacy. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/reading_pre.pdf. Accessed Jan. 7, 2011.
- Zimmerman FJ, et al. Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161:473.
- Christakis DA, et al. Audible television and decreased adult words, infant vocalizations, and conversational turns. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2009;163:554.
- Schmidt ME, et al. Television viewing in infancy and child cognition at 3 years of age in a US cohort. Pediatrics. 2009;123:e370.
- Richert RA, et al. Word learning from baby videos. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 2010;164:432.