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Fisher-Price Backs Away From iPad Bouncy Seat as Demand for Recall Grows
BOSTON - December 20 - Today, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood sent a petition to Geoff Walker, Executive Vice President of Fisher-Price, demanding that the toy company recall its notorious Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device. To date, the petition has been signed by more than 12,000 parents, grandparents, educators, and health professionals. CCFC sent the petition amid signs that Fisher-Price is distancing itself from the controversial iPad bouncy seat.
“In Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s 13-year history, no petition we’ve hosted has garnered more signatures—or generated more passion,” said CCFC’s director Dr. Susan Linn. “People expect better of Fisher-Price and are shocked that the company is selling a product with such a cynical disregard for infants’ wellbeing.”
In a statement, Fisher-Price claims the company does not “position the Apptivity Seat, or any of our other infant seats, as educational products for children.” This is simply not true. A screen capture of Fisher-Price’s Apptivity webpage on “The Wayback Machine” shows that, as recently as December 3, the company claimed “Play and learning are at baby’s fingertips, with free apps you can download for your iPad®" and “Early learning apps introduce baby to letters, numbers and more, through sing-along songs, sounds & friendly characters." Both claims have been removed from Fisher-Price’s website since the controversy erupted, but the seat’s packaging still advertises that “Play and learning are at baby’s fingertips” along with other references to “early learning.” Fisher-Price’s assertion that the Apptivity Seat is a “niche” product is belied by the fact that Amazon.com is marketing the seat as one of its “best gifts for kids in 2013.”
In an effort to undermine CCFC’s assertion that the seat encourages parents to leave babies alone with an iPad, Fisher-Price claims that it has a timeout feature “only allows for 10 minutes of activity with our app before requiring a manual reset.” But CCFC timed three apps and found that one, Laugh & Learn Shapes & Color Music show for Baby, ran indefinitely while two others, Development with Contrast Colors for Baby and Soothing Sights & Songs for Baby, timed out at 12.5 minutes and 13.5 minutes respectively.
Added Dr. Linn, “It’s clear Fisher-Price is attempting damage control, but the best way to protect their brand is do the right thing for babies and families and pull the plug on the iPad bouncy seat.”
CCFC’s petition continues to accumulate new signatories who are particularly disappointed that Fisher-Price, a name long associated with quality products for kids, would produce something so potentially harmful for babies. An astounding 34% of people took the time to write individual comments, including many who said they would boycott Fisher-Price until the company stopped selling the Apptivity Seat:
“Fisher-Price had been seen as a reliable source of good toys for young children. That reputation is destroyed with this product. This is shameful, and a violation of the rights of our youngest children to make their own choices about what to engage with. What a cynical move!” - Karyn Callaghan, Hamilton, Ontario
“As a pediatrician, I am horrified by this product and will be advising my patients to avoid it. I am a fan of some of the ‘old’ Fisher-Price toys and hoped to buy some for family members. But I will be boycotting Fisher-Price until this toy is recalled.” - Dr. Mary Kerosky, Anchorage, Alaska
“As the grandparent of a bright, lively 6-month-old, I would be appalled if our daughter purchased this item for her son. Babies need as much actual human interaction as they can get to develop fully. Your Apptivity Seat provides exactly the opposite. Please remove this product from sale immediately. I am considering a boycott of all Fisher-Price products, based on your offering this item for sale. Your company seems to have a twisted view of what's in the best interests of babies.” - Beverly Roberts, Delaware
“I am an early childhood educator, currently teaching parent education for parents in a birth to age 3 program. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for babies at all. I am shocked that this product will be marketed to parents. Babies need to be stimulated by human interaction that engages their five senses. This product forces an infant to look at a screen and blocks their view of the real world around them. I strongly urge Fisher-Price to remove this product from the market. Until then, I will use this product as an example of the harmful affects of screen time on infants in my classes.” - Catherine Broz, Seaside, California