Your Baby Can Read! Shuts Its Doors After Investigation
Posted by The Baby News
The popular $200 DVD series was called Your Baby Can Read! and promised parents that it could teach an infant to become literate. But Your Baby Can Read! is closing down after a Today Show segment questioned the accuracy of the company's claims and a consumer advocacy group petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Your Baby Can Read!, claiming that the company was essentially robbing parents of $200 under false claims.
The company website announced: "Regretfully, the cost of fighting recent legal issues has left us with no option but to cease business operations. While we vehemently deny any wrongdoing, and strongly believe in our products, the fight has drained our resources to the point where we can no longer continue operating." The website said a customer service representative would be on duty during business hours until August 15, 2012.
Meanwhile, the website at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood celebrated its win. The national nonprofit petitioned the FTC last year to stop Dr. Titzer from making "pseudoscientific claims." For example, Your Baby television ads said babies have a short window of opportunity in which they can learn how to read. The campaign argues that research shows babies' brains are not developed enough to learn to read.
The Today Show interviewed child development experts and neuroscientists at Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Tufts Universities. The scientists dismissed Your Baby ads as misleading. Harvard's Dr. Nonie Lesaux said of the company's commercials, "(The babies) memorized what's on the cue cards. It's not reading."
Dr. Titzer defended Your Baby on the Today Show. He admitted that his Indiana University PhD is in human performance - the study of motor skills - and not in neuroscience or education. But Titzer said he used the method on his own children with great results. He said his daughter was a better reader at 4 years old than Titzer was as an adult. You can view The Today Show segment here;
Titzer's educational method includes picture books that parents read to their babies. Babies also watch hours of DVDs as part of their homework. Your Baby recommends setting a pace according to the child's age. The DVDs are designed for ages 6 months to 5 years old. In its FTC petition, the Campaign cites research that found plunking a baby in front of a TV for too long causes sleep disruption and actually delays a child's ability to learn words - the campaign estimates that by the time a child has finished the DVD series, according to Your Baby Can Read! parent guidlines, they will have watched 200 hours of television - hoirs that child development and literacy experts agree are best spent in person-to-person interaction with a mom or other caretaker.
Did you or are you using Your Baby Can Read!?
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