TV Time No Help to Babies

03.05.09 New study finds television viewing not good and not bad for kids 2 and younger


Parents-to-be, you might want to rethink buying more baby "educational" videos to help your little one become brainier. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that TV viewing before the age of 2 does not improve a child's language and visual motor skills, The New York Times reports.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School studied 872 children on a regular basis from birth up to age 3. The study shows that the children who watched educational TV were no more adept in vocabulary or visual and motor ability tests than those who had not.

According to the report, "68 percent of children 2 years of age use screen media on a typical day and one-quarter of these children have a TV set in his or her bedroom."

While the study shows that increased infant TV exposure does not benefit cognitive development, researchers said it was also not detrimental. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics advices against any TV for this age group, while other experts warn that TV exposure has been associated with increased risk of obesity, attention problems and decreased sleep quality.

But remember nobody's perfect! Even plenty of model but harried moms will admit to occasionally turning on the tube for their babies. Reduce your guilt by keeping these viewing pointers in mind. Plus our list of the best kid-and-parent-approved TV shows and DVDs (just in case!).

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor