December 20, 2013
Geoff Walker, Executive Vice President
636 Girard Avenue
East Aurora, NY 14052
Dear Mr. Walker,
Attached, please find a petition with 12,090 signatures urging Fisher-Price to recall its Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device. The number of signatories is still growing and we will continue to update you accordingly.
In Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood’s 13-year history, no petition we’ve hosted has garnered more signatures—or generated more passion. An astounding 34% of signatories took the time to write individual comments for you. We hope that you will make the effort to read them all.
It is clear that parents, grandparents, educators, and health professionals are particularly disappointed that Fisher-Price, a name long associated with quality products for kids, would produce something so potentially harmful for babies. Karyn Callaghan, of Hamilton, Ontario wrote, “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!” Similarly, Kelly Ernst-Friedman of Oakland, California wrote, “This product is a disservice to children and Fisher-Price should not want its name associated with it. It's not educational, it impedes development, and I, for one, would boycott the company for its choice to side with profits over children.”
The call to boycott Fisher-Price was echoed repeatedly. Helen Groth, a new mother from the United Kingdom wrote, “The thought of being strapped down and forced to stare at a screen when you have no other experience in life makes me feel physically sick. Especially when I think of my 12 week old daughter and her exciting journey she goes on everyday just by looking around and engaging with the world. Shame on you Fisher-Price. If this product goes ahead, I, for one, will be boycotting all your products.” Dr. Mary Kerosky of Anchorage, Alaska commented, “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.” Beverly Roberts of Delaware wrote, “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.”
Catherine Broz of Seaside, California wrote “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 effects of screen time on infants in my classes.”
Betsy Hoople of Simsbury, Connecticut wrote, “As an early childhood educator and parent, I cannot even begin to express my disgust and dismay with this product. It flies in the face of any and all research into best practice for maximizing infant development. I had to go on the Fisher-Price website to check it out for myself. Your ideas for extending play (singing, making animal sounds, etc.) have been practiced by parents for generations—no iPad necessary!! Please remove this product from your line. It is a huge disservice to parents and babies alike.”
We are encouraged that Fisher-Price has begun to distance itself from the Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity™ Seat for iPad® device and is now calling it a “niche product.” But that’s not enough. This product is so potentially harmful to infants and runs so counter to everything research tells us about healthy development that we will continue our campaign until you stop selling the Apptivity Seat.
We urge you to do the right thing—for babies, for families, and for the Fisher-Price brand. Let parents and people who care about children know that you will stand by your mission to produce “products and services consumers can trust to improve their family’s lives” and take the Apptivity Seat off the market. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this with you further.
Susan Linn, EdD, Director, CCFC
Josh Golin, Associate Director, CCFC