Some pediatricians south of the border seem to be adopting a "harm reduction" approach when it comes to what American babies are doing for entertainment.
Just look at the reaction to the launch last month of BabyFirstTV, "the nation's first channel for babies." It's a round-the-clock provider of commercial-free shows aimed at those too young to sit up, chew their food or tell anyone to turn the damn thing off.
Yes, it's television aimed at the barely born, and it's available to Americans by satellite for a mere $9.99 a month. A small price for a few hours of peace and quiet, non?
Okay, I exaggerate. Not a few hours - only an hour and 20 minutes. Because according to a new study by the media research group the Kaiser Foundation, that's how much television 61 per cent of babies in the U.S. are watching each day. I kid you not. Though it's unclear whether that includes the CNN reports from war zones and episodes of All My Children that the grownups have on while baby sits on the bouncy chair pretending to be oblivious.
And guess what else? Nineteen per cent of these mites - who likely don't even own their first pair of shoes - already have a TV in their bedroom!
This is very disturbing to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which, while an advocate of breastfeeding, is not at all keen on the boob tube. It's recommendation: No TV for kids under age 2.
But now, some doctors beg to differ. Reality check, they say. If parents are using the TV to keep tots occupied while they throw in the laundry or because they think it will make them smarter, why not at least help them do it in a healthy way? With good clean age-appropriate fare instead of Simpsons reruns and or ex-spouses lunging at each other on Jerry Springer.
FYI, the baby channel isn't available here.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right. Only in America.
Does your baby watch TV?