The Great Baby Einstein Refund Debacle

DSCN3062-1.JPGIt wasn’t long after my son was born in 2003 that Disney’s Baby Einstein line-up became super popular. They were going to make my child smart and stimulate him in a way that I couldn’t. Or so they claimed. As cool as the marketing made the videos sound, I knew better. I’ve always been a very “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” kind of woman, and I took that mentality into motherhood with me.  I had read enough baby books and even taken a few early childhood development classes in high school to know that T.V., no matter what, can have some negative effects a child under two. So any video series that was targeted for younger than that made me roll my eyes.

But the idea that there was a video out there that could somehow stimulate my baby enough to make him smarter, well it did peek my curiosity. And after all the videos were stamped with Walt Disney seal of approval. So I ran out and picked one up to see what the fuss was about. The music was classical, which I already played for my infant on a regular basis, and the video was, well odd. Sure there were bright colors and moving objects, but nothing that led me to believe that my child would indeed be the youngest Nobel Prize winner for Astro physics or anything.

I put my baby in his favorite bouncy chair (yes we lived & died by the bouncy chair in our house) and pointed him towards the TV.  For about five minutes my infant was mesmerized. Then he was done. His eyes started to wander his feet started kicking and the bouncy chair started moving. He looked for me, looked for his binky, and refused to turn his attention toward the TV again. And that was the extent of our time with Baby Einstein. A big thumbs down in our book. And as my husband pointed out, “Well we could’ve saved $15 and made that ourselves!”

Baby Geniuses? Really?

My instinct was to stick with what the pediatrician and all the trusted baby books I had read told me, which was TV before age two was a no-no. I should probably admit that as my child got older he was granted far more TV time then I would ever admit in a public forum such as this, but as an infant his stimulation was kept to me reading and playing with him face to face. Lots of music and lots of playtime with the kids at daycare.

Now, a few years later, it seems Disney has decided that maybe those videos weren’t so great at making smart babies and that they should probably concur with what the previously mentioned studies has shown.

First of all, most of us didn’t really think these videos were going to make our babies smarter, did we? And most women who have children right now know that TV before the age of two is not really the best idea (though we all know in real life NO TV is a little ridiculous). We don’t always follow that advice, but we know that there have been enough studies to show it to be true.

So, why I do think the marketing for the Baby Einstein videos was exaggerated, they also offered a money back guarantee if you weren’t satisfied all along. I don’t know if Disney should shoulder the responsibility for people believing what they see on TV. That being said, I also think the fact that they are anyway is a testament to how much the company truly does care about their reputation and their consumers. Bravo Disney for taking responsibility and trying to make it right.

If you have a Baby Einstein DVD you’d like to return you can return up to four DVDs in any condition, with or without the cover, for a refund of $15.99 each. The instructions for returning the DVD’s are on the Baby Einstein website.

Meghan Harvey is the Community Manager for MomConnect and never cared for the Baby Einstein videos anyway. She and her two children do however standby their claim that Little Einstein’s on the other hand is one of the best kids shows EVER.

This post is a cross-post from MomConnect-The Blog!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Angela
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 15:49:05

    I am flabbergasted that anyone thought they would really make a kid smarter. My sister in law had them and I used to watch her daughter with my son. On occasion I would put one in so I could maybe clean up the kitchen or vacuum the living room. Within 5 minutes neither one was really interested, but it gave me 5 minutes to get something done. That was about all it was good for lol! I won’t knock anyone who uses a dvd to gain a few minutes to get something done. IMHO it won’t hurt in the long run at that sort of pace.


  2. Marie
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 16:22:03

    I never thought these would make my child smarter, but I did hope they would buy me a few minutes of relative peace. That they did once or twice, but my oldest got scared by a hand puppet popping up and going “Bleh”. This happened a couple of times, so we turned them off and never looked at them again.


  3. Didi
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 16:34:43

    I had a totally different experience. My son LOVES the videos. He loves the music and the puppets and the children in the videos. I have sat with him through all of the ones we have (maybe 10) and he is always captivated. I am not sure what the difference is. Maybe having a selection. In any case. We are fans of the baby einstein series. I dont think its going to make him smarter- that is my job. It is better then cartoons and all the other junk on television.


  4. Karen Bannan
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 16:44:21

    I wrote something about this very topic last week. The research is pretty clear that television isn’t exactly a great thing for babies. I fell into the trap in the beginning, too. I would love to see Disney come out and admit it, although I guess offering refunds is as close to that as we’re going to get.


  5. Condo Blues
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 17:46:54

    I have a friend who swore by the Baby Einstein videos and honestly thought they would make her child smarter. That’s what’s written on package and in ads for the product. So, yes, Disney should come out and say that the videos won’t make your child smarter as we originally lead you to believe but they might buy you a few minutes peace if you need to distract you baby in order to do something quick like vacuum.


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