I was so pleased to be interviewed by USA Today for a story about my new book “Retro Baby, Cut Back on all the gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development with Time-Tested Activities.”
What gear should parents skip?
“Some popular baby products that child development expert Anne Zachry and other pediatric experts says parents don’t need:
1. Educational DVDs. Research indicates educational DVDs do not help babies learn. Various studies find either no difference in language acquisition between children who watched educational DVDs and those who didn’t, or that babies learn language better by interacting with live speakers than by passively listening to language coming from a DVD.
2. Sleep positioners, a flat or wedged mat intended to keep babies positioned on their back while sleeping. They are unnecessary and pose a suffocation risk, Zachry says.
3. Jumping devices, including Johnny Jump Up, Jumperoo, and Jump & Go. Some attach to door frames, others are freestanding. Those that suspend from a door frame pose dangers including head trauma, strangulation and whiplash. All versions encourage standing on the tiptoes, which is not good for baby’s feet, and excess jumping puts unnecessary stress on an infant’s legs, hips and spines.
4. Bath Seats. They provide support so a child can sit upright in an adult bathtub, but are capable of tipping over. Instead, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using a hard plastic child bathtub and make sure you never leave a child unattended near water and always have at least one hand on the child while bathing him or her.
5. Bumper pads. There’s no proof that the pads, used to keep babies from bumping their heads against the slats of a crib, prevent serious injury. In fact, they are pose a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.
6. Baby walkers. These wheeled seats are intended to give babies mobility and learn to walk. But children with have fallen into pools, down stairs, and over ledges and been burned when using walks and they may actually delay, not help when a child starts to walk. A safer option is a stationary activity center used in moderation – no more than 15 minutes a day.”