NBC’s new summer show The Baby Borrowers has been receiving some less than impressive reviews from critics in all industries. But it has been hit the hardest by groups that specialize in keeping children safe.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry issued a statement last Wednesday calling for NBC to “pull” The Baby Borrowers due to health and safety concerns it has with the reality show, which separates babies and toddlers from their parents and places them with teenagers for three days.
“Separating babies and toddlers from their parents for extended periods of time can lead children to feel distress and anxiety,” the organization wrote in the statement. “After prolonged separation, a child can feel distrust for his or her primary caregiver. Separation can damage a healthy attachment and a child’s sense of safety.”
AACAP president Robert Hendren also claims The Baby Borrowers’ “It’s not TV, it’s birth control” message could be better communicated than via a reality show.
“A more constructive approach would have had the teenagers shadow a family of a toddler or baby, keeping parents close,” said Hendren.
Also voicing their concerns is a national advocacy group for young children Zero to Three. They previously released a statement claiming the show “exploits very young children in the pursuit of entertainment.”
“Legitimate social experiments are not conducted on national television or on reality shows,” reads the statement. “The Baby Borrowers may have a catchy theme, but it exploits young children with potential harmful consequences. This is no social experiment. It is an extremely misguided endeavor that puts at risk our most vulnerable citizens, young children who need our love and protection.”
The group also discredited NBC’s “safeguard” of having a nanny near the teenage parents in case a problem should arise.
“The nanny is no more familiar to that child than the two strangers who will be caring for him for three days. The nanny does not know him or what his signals mean — such as what he needs when he cries out in the middle of the night, or how he shows he is hungry, tired, or is overwhelmed and needs a break from play.””Moreover, even though the parents of these young children are watching via closed-circuit television, the babies are not aware of that and have no way of knowing how long the parents will be gone.”
Regardless of what the professionals are saying, NBC is apparently sticking by its show and the safety its youngest participants received during filming. NBC made the following statement that was obtained by The Los Angeles Times:
“The producers of The Baby Borrowers took all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and welfare of the children participating in the series. The environment was carefully controlled, and the children were properly care for at all times.”