For Immediate Release
Creator of Controversial Your Baby Can Read! Series Settles FTC Charges
3-year CCFC campaign against false and deceptive marketing ends with a decisive victory for families
BOSTON - Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Dr. Robert Titzer, creator of the controversial Your Baby Can Read!, a $200 video series that encouraged parents to put infants as young as three months in front of screens. The settlement is the final chapter in Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood's long effort to hold the makers of Your Baby Can Read! accountable for its false and deceptive advertising.
In 2011, CCFC and its attorneys at Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Representation filed a FTC complaint documenting how the marketing of Your Baby Can Read! was rife with false and unsubstantiated claims about infant learning. In 2012, the FTC filed false advertising charges against Your Baby Can LLC and Dr. Titzer. Your Baby Can and former CEO Hugh Penton agreed to settle the FTC's charges, but Dr. Titzer formed a new company, The Infant Learning Company, and continued to claim Your Baby Can Read! could teach babies as young as nine months to read. As part of the new settlement, Dr. Titzer and The Infant Learning Company are now barred from using the phrase “Your Baby Can Read.” Both defendants are prohibited from making any unsubstantiated claims about the performance of any product that teaches reading and Dr. Titzer is barred from endorsing any product unless he has a reasonable basis for its marketing claims.
“Today’s landmark settlement with the creator of Your Baby Can Read! is a huge victory for families and a great ending to our three-year campaign,” said CCFC’s Executive Director Dr. Susan Linn. “We commend the FTC for their unwavering determination to hold the makers Your Baby Can Read! accountable for deceiving parents. We are particularly pleased that the insidious brand name ‘Your Baby Can Read!’ has been retired for good. The Commission’s actions should serve as a needed wake-up call to media marketers who falsely hype the educational benefits of their products and exploit parents' natural tendency to want the best for their babies.”
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration among organizations and individuals who care about children. CCFC is a project of Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org).