Nine in 10 US babies watch TV
About 90 per cent of US children under age 2 and as many as 40 per cent of infants under three months are regular watchers of television, DVDs and videos, researchers said on Monday.
They said the number of young kids watching TV was much greater than expected.
"We don't know from the study whether it is good or bad. What we know is that it is big," said Frederick Zimmerman of the University of Washington, whose research appears in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
A second study suggested excessive TV viewing could lead to attention and learning problems down the road.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that children in the United States watch about four hours of television every day. They recommend that children under age 2 should not watch any and older children should watch no more than 2 hours a day of quality programming.
But 29 per cent of parents surveyed by Zimmerman and colleagues believed baby-oriented TV and DVD programs offered educational benefits.
"Parents are getting the message loud and clear from marketers of TV and videos that this is good for their kids. That it will help their brain development ... None of this stuff has ever been proven," Zimmerman said in a telephone interview.