The Walt Disney Company has asked the University of Washington to retract statements criticizing the company’s Baby Einstein products, The Denver Post reported today. University researchers wrote last week in the The Journal of Pediatrics that infants who watched DVD’s and videos designed for babies understood fewer words than did infants who didn’t watch the recorded programs.
A university news release announced the study’s findings by stating that, “despite marketing claims, parents who want to give their infants a boost in learning language probably should limit the amount of time they expose their children to DVD’s and videos such as ‘Baby Einstein’ and ‘Brainy Baby.’”
The release also quoted Frederick Zimmerman, the study’s leader and an associate professor of health services, as saying that “the most important fact to come from this study is there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVD’s and videos and there is some suggestion of harm.”
In a letter to the university’s president, Mark A. Emmert, which was made available on the Post’s Web site, Disney said the study was flawed and did not specifically assess Baby Einstein products. —Richard Monastersky