The un-Baby Einstein Option
By Wendy Donahue
Chicago Tribune

In the shadow of the China-made toy scare came a separate cause for parental angst:A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that for every hour of baby-video viewing per day, children ages 8 to 16 months knew six to eight fewer words than those who watched no videos.

New parents hear such reports and pledge to burn the Baby Einsteins and turn off the TV for two years. But then harsh realities set in — such as the need for Mom to bathe before a harsh aroma sets in.

That’s one reason that the makers of “Eebee’s Adventures,” a DVD and on-demand series for babies and toddlers, have mounted a countercampaign — against a blanket ban on baby DVDs.

Their champion is Eebee (above), who stars in the videos as a Muppet-like baby puppet, who plays on the floor with a real-life adult or tot, using simple household objects, such as the laundry basket.

The idea is not just to engage baby but also to inspire parents with uncomplicated but beneficial activities.

“The goal is interaction,” said Stephen Gass, a previous director of education for “Sesame Street” and a child psychologist who co-founded the Every Baby Co. with Don Burton, a former honcho with Disney Education.

The warm exchanges in the 10-minute episodes captivated our 15-month-old test viewer, for 5 minutes at a time, anyway, which is enough to switch the laundry before returning to baby’s side to imitate the push-pull tricks with fresh clothes — then go for a joy ride in the basket.

Our tester wasn’t writing HTML afterward. But she was giggling. (And no lead-paint test was necessary!)

The three DVDs of “Eebee’s Adventures” are $15.99 at Eebee books and toys are in the works for the holidays.