New ‘Apptivity’ Baby Seat Means More Screen Time for Baby — Would You Buy One?

Photo Courtesy of the Manufacturer
Photo Courtesy of the Manufacturer

The latest baby product to hit the market, the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat by Fisher-Price is causing quite the controversy among parents and healthcare professionals. Why? The baby seat comes with an iPad holder.

The trouble with the Apptivity seat is that it completely slashes the American Academy of Pediatrics official recommendation. The APP recommends that screens be avoided for children under two because “a child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.” The AAP also says, “Children of all ages are constantly learning new things. The first 2 years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child’s brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults. Too much television can negatively affect early brain development. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important. Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger. For older children, the Academy recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs.”

However, amendments to the Under-Two Rule make the Apptivity center seem safe. The AAP’s newest recommendations “discourage” (not ban!) screen time for babies — and interactive screen time with baby is encouraged.

On the Fisher-Price site, the Apptivity description reads as follows: Soothing, entertaining and technology all in one great grow-with-me seat for baby! Lock your iPad device inside the case to protect from dribbles and drool.” The free apps that come with the seat include soothing sounds and patterns that the Fisher-Price team affirms help baby “develop eye-tracking skills.” And it wasn’t made just for baby.

Kathleen Alfano, Ph.D. and senior director child research at Fisher-Price told ABCNews.com that the seat is as much for babies as it is for parents because the seat can be used to stimulate and engage baby. She said, “We strive to provide thoughtful features and solutions for parents that we’ve identified through researching their needs. We know the Apptivity Seat isn’t for everyone. We want to give parents options, which is why we have over a dozen infant seats from which they can choose. If parents don’t want to use the iPad, they can remove the device and a mirror will be overhead, or they can remove the bar completely. The choice is theirs.”

It retails for $80 on the Fisher-Price site.

Moms, would you buy it?

Plus, more from The Bump:

The Great Gadget Debate: Is Your iPod Hurting Your Toddler’s Development?

New Study Says Too Much Time in Front of the TV Could Hurt Your Relationship With Baby

How Can I Entertain My Baby (Without the TV)?