Baby Einstein not so smart, says group

If you’re a parent, the Baby Einstein series is one of those DVD collections that you probably love—and hate. The love part comes when your toddler is sitting in front of the tube, mesmerized, while you do the dishes and he or she is being exposed to great composers and artists such as Beethoven and Van Gogh. The hate part is that sick feeling that you’ve bought into the series’ general premise—that exposing your child to these videos at an early age will help smooth the admissions process a few years down the road at Harvard or Yale. Shouldn’t you know better? Anyway, a child advocacy group, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, has filed a complaint with the FTC accusing Baby Einstein, and one of its rivals, Brainy Baby, of “false and deceptive advertising” concerning the series’ educational value. As for us, we’re more concerned about the packaging for Baby Van Gogh, which we came across in a bookstore recently. Does the character on the package have to have a bandage on its right ear? Can’t you just hear a little one asking, “Mommy, how did the blue goat get a boo-boo?”

—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor

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