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Your Baby Can Read maker goes out of business amid legal woes

July 16, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Dr. Robert Titzer plays a video of himself with his 9-month-old daughter touching her head after seeing the word "head" on a flash card. Titzer's Your Baby Can company is going out of business.
Dr. Robert Titzer plays a video of himself with his 9-month-old daughter… (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

Future infant geniuses will have to seek their smarts elsewhere now that the company behind Your Baby Can Read – instructional videos for the diaper set – is going out of business.

For years, Your Baby Can targeted parents hoping to get their little ones an early start on literacy, eventually selling tens of thousands of educational videos.

But many were skeptical of the company’s tactics, publicly challenging the practice of exposing young children to videos through class action lawsuits and a "Today Show" investigation in 2010.

“Regretfully, the cost of fighting recent legal issues has left us with no option but to cease business operations,” the company said in a statement on its website. “While we vehemently deny any wrongdoing, and strongly believe in our products, the fight has drained our resources to the point where we can no longer continue operating.”

Advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood filed a complaint against the company last year with the Federal Trade Commission.

The group claimed that extensive television advertising for the $200 Your Baby Can Read product was targeted mainly at low-income parents and touted “pseudoscientific claims” of a limited “window of opportunity” for reading ability.

Research has suggested that exposing infants to videos can lead to sleep disturbances, attention problems, delayed language development as well as future obesity, according to the advocacy group.

The advocacy group called the company's shutdown a victory.

The products will continue to be available at Amazon.com; the company said it will keep a customer service representative on hand until Aug. 15.

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