Pediatrician Bookseller Pledges To Get Babies Unplugged

Nov 07, 2012, 05:30 ET from Blue Manatee Press

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hutton's not a man to take the word "can't" sitting down. When told it was too difficult to balance an 80-hour/week pediatric residency with a family and a business, he did anyway. When faced with a going-out-of-business notice from a favorite bookstore, he purchased the whole store, and has run it successfully for over a decade. Now, Dr. Hutton's determined to warn parents about potential dangers of believing screen time can be a surrogate for playtime.

His mission is to fight the "baby genius" craze – as a doctor, bookseller, author, and publisher under the banner, Baby Unplugged. His Baby Unplugged blog provides evidence and advice, his bookstore website ManaMD section tracks statistics and studies, and his Blue Manatee Press imprint has been created to publish books encouraging early learning and play.

Blue Manatee's flagship series, written by Hutton, features seven Baby Unplugged™ board books. Using happy images and simple text, each encourages children to discover the joys of exploring the real world and engaging in real experiences. Characters are active, and concepts are rooted in multi-sensorial exploration and how developing brains work. Blue Manatee's Toast to Baby series and its inaugural title, Toast To Counting, presents basic concepts in fun, surprising ways.

"It's incredible that we have to remind people to reconnect with the real world," says Hutton. "But that's exactly what's needed. It's a constant battle; one we can easily lose given the unprecedented pace of technological change. There are few things more tempting for stressed parents than to calm children with video screens – tv shows, computer games and 'smart baby' apps. Thus the world is increasingly 'virtualized' from an ever-younger age, where it's easier to watch a character entertain you, than to be physically active. This is amplified by frequent 'educational' marketing claims of companies implying technology isn't just enchanting for babies, it's necessary. However, children learn dramatically less from video screens than the real world.  Real-world experiences are critical during sensitive developmental stages. Play and engagement are vital. Excessive screen media's a major reason we're fighting childhood obesity, attention, sleep, and learning problems -- prevention is key."

Dr. Hutton's books have received Mom's Choice Gold Medal and Creative Child Book of the Year awards. Dr. Hutton is on clinical staff at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

SOURCE Blue Manatee Press