Fisher-Price’s new iPad bouncy seat fail
© 2013 Roy Benaroch, MD
The Hatfields versus the McCoys. Potter versus Malfoy. That guy with the hat versus that guy who walked around naked (don’t ask me, I’ve never watched Survivor.) These are among the best-known feuds of our time.
Now it’s my turn for a feud. It’s me versus Fisher-Price. Don’t pretend you aren’t reading this, Fisher. Or Price. Or both of you. If you are two people, which I’m not so sure about.
Anyway: last year I wrote about the Fisher-Price Rock-n-Play Sleeper, which despite being called a “sleeper”, is not a suitable place for babies to sleep. It fails to meet many of the AAP’s guidelines on safe sleep for babies. You can Rock in it, or Play in it, but I wouldn’t let any baby sleep in it. Judging by the comments on that article, many people agreed with me. Other people think I’m an idiot with some kind of odd Fisher-Price preoccupation. Those people will not be pleased with the rest of this post.
Because Fisher-Price, you’ve done it again.
Introducing the Fisher-Price Newborn to Toddler Apptivity Device for iPad Device. It’s a bouncy seat, suitable for babies from about 1-4 months, with a handy swing-arm that holds an iPad right in their cute little baby faces. With a protective screen so they don’t goober it up, this is guaranteed to make 100% certain that your baby stares at a glowing screen. Don’t let the name—“Newborn to Toddler”—fool you. This is a little infant bouncer, and no toddler is going to use this, and they’re not trying to sell it to toddlers. No, this is for basically our youngest babies. The ones who are supposed to be watching your face and smiling back at you. Instead, let’s plop ‘em in front of a screen. I’m sure that will work out well.
What, you say your infant prefers to lie down? Fisher-Price has got you covered. Here’s their Apptivity Gym for iPhone and iPod Touch Devices. That would also be appropriate if your baby doesn’t yet own an iPad. He could just use his phone.
Both of these “Apptivity” things come with, you guessed it, apps. They’re designed by “child care experts” to turn your baby into a screen-obsessed zombie. Well, admittedly, the Fisher-Price site doesn’t exactly say that, but sometimes you have to read between the lines.
Now, I’m not saying that Fisher-Price wants to kill your babies, or rob them of the precious and irreplaceable joy of normal childhood development. No sir. I didn’t say that at all. So no Cease-and-Desist Letter is necessary. What I am saying is that our babies need better than this. They don’t need a screen mounted in front of their faces, blocking their view of the world they’re supposed to enjoy, master, and inherit. They need love, and touch, and human interaction, and someone to smile back at them when they blow a raspberry. They need parents, not iPads, and not this kind of crap from Fisher-Price.