Disney Unable to Turn Babies Into Einsteins


     SANTA ANA, Calif. (CN) - Disney can't turn babies into Einsteins, despite its claims for its "Baby Einstein" videos, parents say in a class action in Superior Court. The parents say the video series can be "actually quite harmful" and can contribute to "attention and learning problems later on."
     Disney has been marketing and selling its "Baby Einstein" home videos since 2001, claiming the product is educational and beneficial for early childhood development.
     The parents say Disney knew that naming its products "Baby Einstein, Baby Mozart, Baby Galileo and Baby Shakespeare would directly communicate an irresistible message to parents: 'Your babies will become smarter if you use our products.'"
     But the parents cite and August 2007 article in the "Journal of Pediatrics" that recommended that parents "limit their children's exposure to Baby Einstein products" because research shows that "there is no clear evidence of a benefit coming from baby DVDs and videos and there is some suggestion of harm."
     The parents say Disney's real concern is making money. They say Disney tried to discredit and bully the University of Washington researchers who conducted the research by calling their conclusions "unrealistic" because they do not "reflect the reality of today's parents, families and households."
     And, the class claims, Disney finally acknowledged its misrepresentations and promised to offer full refunds on its baby videos, but the refunds were not "full," as promised.
     The refund offer only dates back to 2004 will refund less than what the DVDs were purchased for; it limits the number of refunds per household and does not cover shipping and handling, the class claims.
The class alleges violation of the California Legal Remedies Act and the California Business Code. They want the refunds to cover the real cost of the videos since Disney began selling them, plus shipping and handling costs, and they want the 4-per-household limit abolished. They are represented by Scott Ferrell with the Newport Trial Group in Newport Beach.