The Walt Disney Company is offering refunds to parents of babies whose I.Q. did not increase after watching Baby Einstein DVDs purchased between June 5, 2004 and September 5, 2009.
According to media reports, the videos were marketed as educational infant products, but in reality, they function as little more than electronic babysitters. Disney purchased the Baby Einstein line of educational videos for infants in 2001. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should not watch television or videos until they reach the age of two.
In order to stave off a class-action lawsuit for "unfair and deceptive practices," Disney has agreed to refund the original purchase price (up to $15.99) for up to four Baby Einstein DVDs per household.
Approximately one third of all American families with babies age six months to two years owned at least one video. The series features bright colors, music, puppets, and few words. Children quickly outgrow the Baby Einstein videos and move on to Elmo, Barney, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the Teletubbies.
Disney's refund should serve as a reminder for parents that infant video entertainment is a poor substitute for parent-child interaction, conversation, and reading.