Enraged that Fisher-Price has started selling an iPad baby seat, a Boston-based consumer group has launched a campaign to get the product yanked off the market.
The petition by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has so far gotten 8,739 signatures.
"There are so many awful screen products for babies these days, but the Fisher-Price Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device is the worst yet," the group says on the petition. "It’s a bouncy seat for an infant – with a place for an iPad directly above the baby’s face, blocking his or her view of the rest of the world."
The group sees the gadget as basically a giant electronic binky that would allow parents to strap in junior and forget about him or her. And claims that the product is educational are sham, the group says.
In a statement to FastCompany, Fisher-Price representatives said the product is the victim of a negative online campaign. And the company said it is not claiming it has educational benefits, and notes that there are features that limit viewing time:
"The Apptivity Seat is a niche product that is only available online. Though we knew the product was not for everyone – we have over a dozen seats from which parents can choose – we wanted to offer it as yet another option for those parents who want the added feature of engaging in age-appropriate content with their children."
Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 should not use any electronic screens.
"A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens," says the AAP.
So far, the product has received one review on the Fisher-Price website, giving it a single star out of five. The user left the following comment:
"I received this as a gift for my infant. While the seat is very nice, the idea of sitting my infant in front of an electronic device for entertainment is absurd to me. I can't imagine how the next generation might turn out if every baby is stuck in front of an Ipad for entertainment... terrible. This product will be kicked to the curb in my house."
Three people said they found that comment helpful.
But as usual, the real fun can be found on the Amazon.com website, where the reviews are priceless.
In the customer Q&A section, for instance:
Q: "Will my child go to Harvard if I buy this product?"
A: "No, they'll be stuck going to Yale."
Or: Q: "What is the weight limit?"A: "About 100lbs. This is to ensure your child can gain an excess amount of weight at a very young age, thus ensuring he/she will never need to walk."Or: Q: "Will this toy replace parenting my 2 month old? His constant clamoring for attention cuts into my "me time," and I want a mini-TV for him to stare at."A: "No, you will still have to occasionally feed him and change his diaper once in a while. But I'm pretty sure Fisher Price is working on a product to automate those chores too."
And don't forget the ever helpful comments from people just like you:
"Fisher-Price missed a golden design opportunity: if they had made the seat out of mesh and put a potty underneath, and added a bottle holder, parents wouldn't have to touch their infants at all."
"This contraption is just amazing. Baby can now re-enact his favorite scenes from Wall-E, pretending to be just like the porky zombie people staring at monitors in their hovercars! One can only hope that they come out with a Mart Cart version for them once they're 200 pound kindergartners. Bless Fisher Price!"
"This product is great. Exactly what I was looking for. Everyone should own one of these. Fisher-Price does it again. Hail Satan."
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