Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Study: 'Smart Baby' DVDs Don't Measure Up

Children Taught by Parents Learned More Words, Research Finds
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Nov. 5, 2010 -- The so-called ''smart baby'' DVDs and videos are popular among parents trying to give their children an intellectual head start, but a new study of one such DVD suggests it didn't deliver.

Children ages 12 to 18 months who watched a ''smart baby'' video meant to teach them 25 everyday words did not learn any more new words than did children with no exposure to the video, found researcher Judy DeLoache, PhD, the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair of Psychology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

"Young babies, 12 to 18 months, don't seem to learn very much from even a substantial amount of exposure to a baby DVD that is made expressly for this age group," DeLoache tells WebMD.

Children in a group taught the same words by parents without a video actually learned the most, DeLoache found. She declined to say which DVD she evaluated.

The study is published in Psychological Science.

Smart Baby DVDs: Study Details

Previous studies have found the DVDs lacking, DeLoache says. Other researchers evaluating the smart baby videos ''were pretty skeptical in general," DeLoache says. "I don't think anyone in the field will be surprised by our data."

With her colleagues, DeLoache assigned 72 infants, ages 12 to 18 months, to one of four groups:

  • A video with interaction group, in which the child and a parent watched the DVD together at least five times a week over a four-week period.
  • A video without interaction group, in which the children watched the video alone for the same exposure period as the kids who watched with their parent.
  • A parent-teaching group, in which the parents were given a list of the 25 words featured on the video (common words of everyday objects) and told to try to teach their child as many words as possible in ''whatever way seems natural to you."
  • A comparison group in which the children had no intervention.

Researchers visited the homes of the first three groups three times, giving instructions and checking to see if the protocol was followed. Children were tested after the four weeks to see how many target words they knew.

The parent teaching group did the best, with those children getting nearly 50% of the target words correct, the researchers found. Bottom line: "Children who had extensive exposure to a popular infant video over a full month, either with a parent or alone, did not learn any more new words than did children with no exposure to the video at all," DeLoache writes in her report.

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow