Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata says the company will continue to caution against letting young children use the new 3DS, not because it's dangerous but to protect itself against lawsuits.
The Nintendo 3DS is by all reports a pretty amazing piece of hardware but Nintendo has said from the get-go that it's not recommended for young children because its 3D images could have a negative effect on the developing vision of young children. The American Optometric Association recently issued a statement dismissing the concern, saying that children with "normally developing" sight should suffer no ill effects from using it, but Nintendo is maintaining its position anyway.
In an interview with the Japanese edition of the Wall Street Journal, Iwata said the warnings aren't an indication that the device is dangerous in any way but are instead part of the company's effort to keep its customers fully informed, a policy which it "very actively" pursues. He also pointed out that gaming devices tend to be used for longer stretches than other 3D hardware and maintained that some specialists still believe that long periods of watching 3D video can have a deleterious effect on young eyes, in spite of the AOA statement.
Nintendo is understandably concerned about potential lawsuits being filed by parents who feel their children have been adversely affected by using the device. Because of that, the 3DS packaging and instructions will still carry cautions against letting young children play with it, despite the general consensus that it should be harmless. As the saying goes, better safe than sued.
The Nintendo 3Ds comes out in Japan on February 26 and hits the rest of the world in March.