- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) risk at age 2 years was not associated with exposure to television/videos at age 1 year or with a history of daily parent-child play in this cohort study.
- Toddlers exposed to television/video in infancy tended to have higher scores on an autism screening tool.
- Daily parent-child play was associated with lower scores on the tool.
- High video/television viewing levels at age 18 months showed no associations with screening scores or ASD risk at age 2 years.
Why this matters
- An editorial notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no digital media before age 18 months.
- Autism is associated with events during embryonic and fetal development.
- Neither screen exposure nor parent-child play was significantly associated with ASD risk.
- Scores on the revised Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT-R) at age 2 years were:
- Higher with any television and/or video viewing at age 12 months vs no viewing: 4.2% (95% CI, 0.1%-8.3%).
- Lower with parent-child play daily vs less than daily at age 12 months: −8.9% (95% CI, −16.5% to −0.9%).
- Unaffected by high levels of television/video viewing at age 18 months.
- No significant associations seen for time spent by caregiver reading to child at 12 months of age.
- US multicenter prospective cohort study, 2152 children enrolled at birth (2010-2012).
- Main outcomes:
- M-CHAT-R scores.
- ASD risk per M-CHAT-R.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- Selection bias; included only parents willing to participate.
- Possible false-positives on screening tool.
- Exposures based on simple questions capturing limited detail.
- Direction of associations is unknown.