Behavior: Is This Crib Necessary?

"A total responsive environment," the manufacturer calls it. That is the way one company describes its new three-level baby crib equipped with toys to grasp and pull, sand timers to watch, wheels to spin, voice-activated mobiles and sound tapes, plus a tank awash with live fish. According to the developers and to some child psychologists who have endorsed the environmental crib, almost every baby needs such a scientifically engineered corral for sleep and play. Parents who prefer the traditional, simple "containment crib," it has been argued, may end up with a child who is not too bright.

The claims for the gadget-laden...

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