When reading parenting magazines, moms and dads might be best off to skip skimming the ads because many of them share a problem: They show kids doing unsafe things, new research indicates.
University of Minnesota researchers studied the advertisements in two top-selling U.S. parenting magazines, Cari Nierenberg wrote for Live Science. They gauged whether the photographs and products described in ads conflicted with the American Academic of Pediatrics’ safety recommendations.
According to the research, 1 in 6 did.
And the children of those magazines’ ads faced possible peril based on AAP’s standards in numerous ways, Nierenberg wrote.
“For example, an ad might show a photograph of young children in a boat, where the kids are not wearing life jackets. This image conflicts with pediatricians’ recommendation that kids under 12 always wear life vests while boating,” she reported. “Or, for instance, an ad might show babies in their cribs, sleeping on their stomachs or sides, rather than being placed on their backs, which is the recommended practice.”
Carly Weeks wrote for The Globe and Mail more subtle examples exist: The study cited some companies advertising medications that haven’t been approved to give to kids of certain ages.
Such cases back up the finding that more than half of the “problematic” ads included life-threatening images, Weeks reported. Study lead author Michael Pitt indicated consumers’ tendencies to let ads fool them makes matters worse.
“We are vulnerable to the images in advertising,” Weeks quoted Pitt saying. “It’s been proven over and over again.”
Pitt and the University of Minnesota team looked at ads in the magazines between 2009 and 2014, Alex Lindley wrote for dailyRX News.
Weeks reported the researchers surveyed more than 3,000 advertisements in that span.
Pitt said at the study’s start, the team expected to mostly see “contradictions in the safe sleeping category,” Laine Bergeson wrote for Discovery News. However, hazards of all types made their way into popular parenting magazines.
Bergeson noted young children riding bikes with no helmets and toys unsafe to young children along with the examples Nierenberg gave.
The main takeaway?
Hopefully, parents utilize the research to realize ads haven’t been “vetted for safety,” Lindley reported.
“Our concern is that repeatedly seeing images with unsafe practices â€” especially in a place where new and seasoned parents look for advice â€” can lead parents to assume these activities are endorsed by the experts at the magazines and lead to unsafe practices at home,” Lindley quoted Pitt saying.
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Payton Davis is the Deseret News National intern. Send him an email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter, @Davis_DNN.