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Consumer Watchdog: "Your Baby Still Can't Read" Despite Product's Claim

A Boston-based children's advocacy group has filed a complaint against the "Your Baby Can Learn!" video collection, contending the company is making unproven claims. (Evan Amos)
A Boston-based children's advocacy group has filed a complaint against the "Your Baby Can Learn!" video collection, contending the company is making unproven claims. (Evan Amos)
March 24, 2016

BOSTON - A Boston-based children's advocacy group says a video learning series is back at it again, making "unfounded claims" about infants' ability to learn, even during the first 18 months in the crib.

Executive Director Josh Golin says his group, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, first alerted the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to those claims in 2012.

He says the FTC imposed a $148 million judgment against Dr. Robert Titzer and his "Your Baby Can Read!" videos.

Golin says the company simply declared bankruptcy and is back in business.

"The FTC said you can't do that anymore, so all he did was he just changed the name of his product from 'Your Baby Can Read!' to 'Your Baby Can Learn!' - and he's still selling the same digital snake oil," Golin says.

The group filed a complaint with the FTC this week, asking the commission to enforce the earlier consent order.

On its website, "Your Baby Can Learn!" continues to defend its products, claiming it is one of the most-studied baby products in the world and that studies show no negative effects.

However, Golin says the video series has a history of targeting low-income families with the promise of future success for their kids for a couple hundred dollars.

"And that's heartbreaking, when you think about a parent thinking if they spend this money this product will give their child a leg-up," he says. "When, in fact, what we know is babies don't learn anything from watching videos, let alone a complex skill like reading."

Golin believes the videos are especially hurtful, because they take time away from what he calls the best thing parents can do - spend a few minutes a day reading to their children.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA