Baby walkers might seem like a harmless enough toy, and certainly one that will make your life easier but experts are warning against them. The American Academy of Pediatrics wants to ban the sale of baby walkers, blaming them for a number of child injuries each year.
What is a baby walker?
The term baby walker refers to a frame surrounding a fabric chair that suspends babies so their feet can touch the floor. The walker is on wheels, allowing the baby to scoot around the room. The frames often feature a number of toys and activities to keep babies entertained. They’re very popular products, and most babies have access to them.
Why are they so dangerous?
Walkers allow your baby to be mobile before he has developed the skills to move. Before he has developed strong leg muscles and coordination, your baby can move across the room at speed with the help of his walker.
Each day in the US, around 100 children suffer injuries in their baby walkers. The majority of these injuries are head injuries caused by falls. Babies in baby walkers have fallen down stairs, touched hot ovens and escaped through the patio door and straight into the family pool. Baby walkers allow young babies to be mobile at an age when they’re not old enough to understand the risks and potential dangers in the home.
Can they help babies learn how to walk?
There is a common misconception that baby walkers help babies learn how to walk. In fact, time spent in a baby walker can actually delay the development of the strength and skills necessary for walking. Babies who spend time in baby walkers have been found to take longer to sit up, crawl and walk.
Can I still buy one?
Of course, as the parent it is your choice whether you purchase a baby walker for your child. If you do wish to buy one, research the safety mechanisms in place as these vary between brands and models. Make sure your baby is supervised when using the walker though this will not always prevent injury.
What alternatives are there?
If you love the look of walkers because of the engaging and fun looking play stations, fear not, you can buy stationary play centers with similar set ups. You could also use a playpen with toys as a way of entertaining your baby, this has the added benefit of allowing your baby freedom of movement. This freedom is key to developing the muscle strength and control that your baby will need for those first steps.
Do you have a baby walker for your baby?
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.