Fisher-Price's latest baby bouncy seat is too high-tech for comfort. The company had designed it in such a way that it is equipped with a slot that can hold an iPad presumably to keep newborns entertained. Child advocacy groups want it totally recalled from the baby because not only it hampers interaction between parent and child, it will also stun baby's physical growth development such as walking and running because the seat forces them glued on to the screen.
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a Boston-based advocacy group, said Mattel's latest product has gone too far.
"We think this toy is the worst of the worst," Josh Golin, CCFC's associate director, said.
"The seat is the ultimate electronic babysitter. Its very existence suggests it's fine to leave babies all alone with an iPad inches from their face," Susan Linn, the group's director, said.
Mattel seemed to have forgotten that "babies thrive when they are talked to, played with and cuddled, not when they are alone with a screen," Ms Linn stressed.
It is a toy "oppressive and destructive to young children."
As with most baby seats, Fisher-Price's latest 'Newborn-to-Toddler ApptivityTM Seat for iPad® device' has colourful dangling toys meant to capture baby's attention, to reach and grab.
The comparison ends there. This newest "electronic babysitter" has a case where parents could insert an iPad. It has a large built-in mirror where babies can watch downloaded apps or just even ogle at their faces when there's no iPad. Fisher-Price rationalized in its product description the addition can help infants develop eye-tracking skills.
Dr Richard Besser, a doctor interviewed by ABC, cautioned parents against the high-tech baby seater.
"I think parents need to be really careful here," Dr Besser.
"The best thing for a child is extensive interaction with people, hearing voices, seeing faces, physically touching toys," he said. "I worry that screens will replace these important human interactions."
"Fisher-Price should stay true to its mission to foster learning and development by creating products for infants that promote, rather than undermine, interaction with caregivers," Ms Linn said.
Juliette Reashor, Fisher-Price spokeswoman, said apps played on the bouncy don't get to play endlessly. She said it has been equipped with a time-out feature of only 10 minutes before apps play again.
"They are not going to be complaining or crying or asking for the attention that they need," Mr Golin said.
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