Baby Einstein Offers Refunds

10.27.09 Disney says money-back guarantee is policy but groups insist popular videos don't make your baby smarter.

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No baby Einstein in your crib? Time to get a refund, The New York Times reports.

The reason for the refunds depends on who's talking: The Walt Disney Company says it's offering cash-back returns for its Baby Einstein videos if you're not satisfied; child advocacy groups say the refund may be a "tacit admission that [the videos] did not increase infant intellect."

Originally marketed as educational for children, the most recent research shows that videos such as Baby Einstein are not developmentally beneficial and they might even be doing harm. But Disney fired back this week that the company is not admitting that the baby videos are ineffective. Disney says a money-back guarantee is actually its standard policy, always has been.

The refund offer applies to anyone who bought a Baby Einstein video in the last five years and isn't satisfied. The offer expires March 4, and you don't need a receipt. (For refund information, visit the Baby Einstein site here.)

The move from Disney came after advocates filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission accusing Baby Einstein of making false and deceptive claims about the educational value of its products, citing that the wording on packaging and ads was not supported by scientific research. However, Disney actually stopped claiming the videos were educational for children 2 and younger three years ago.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children younger than 2 watch no television or other "screen media." But how does TV really affect your baby?

A Washington University study has shown that an hour per day of watching Baby Einstein or other similar videos was associated with slower acquisition of new words. The videos' popularity was fueled by the "Mozart Myth," which is the idea that playing classical music to an infant can make the child smarter.

Crib Notes earlier this year reported on a study that found too much TV time means less time for children 2 and younger to develop their language skills.

But we know that in reality plenty of moms out there admit to occasionally letting their babies watch TV during especially harried moments—and there's no guilt necessary when it's limited. Here's our TV Guide for Tots to share what we know about the boob tube and your child.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.