Your Baby's Doctor Has Good Reasons

Recently, I was invited to write an op/ed piece for the NY Times. I was asked for my opinion about avoiding screens for infants younger than 2 years old. I chose the strongest argument I know: brain development.

 Infant with Ipad screen

I included a reference to the evidence-based recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that screens be avoided for children under age 2.  These recommendations have been criticized for being impractical in today's world.

The AAP recognizes that some exposure to screens is unavoidable. (They aren't recommending "no screens under any circumstances," the way that a child with a peanut allergy must avoid even trace amounts.) But the AAP has stood firm in its recommendation for good reason: it's well-founded in scientific knowledge about the rate and sequencing of brain growth during infancy, as well as specific findings of studies in this area.

The AAP published a review article of this research in their professional journal, Pediatrics. A helpful summary is described in this Washington Post article.

Why avoid screens for infants younger than two? Because it builds better brains.

Sources

American Academy of Pediatrics. Media and Children. (Current Policy Statement)

American Academy of Pediatrics. Media Use by Children Younger than 2 Years. Pediatrics, 128 (5), November 2011, pages 1040-1045.

Kucirkova, N. Is Your Child Under Age 2? Keep Them Away From Smartphones, Tablets, and Computers. Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2014.

Palladino, L.J.,  Avoid Screens for Children Under 2 Years of Age. New York Times, April 13, 2015.