Baby Walker – When babies start trying to walk, parents often think about getting a baby walker to promote motor skills. Modern versions of these walkers are often made from hard plastic with wheels to facilitate movement. There are variations of baby walkers, but they are typically products that include suspended seats with two holes for a baby’s legs and wheels on the bottom.

 

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Baby WalkerWhat Are The Benefits Of Baby Walkers?

Infant walkers remain common in many households. Parents often place their babies in the walker to build leg muscles and encourage learning to walk. These days, a baby walker has plenty of engaging gadgets to promote activity. They also offer a comfortable spot for infants that will keep them engaged.

Using a baby walker can help parents teach their babies how to walk. At a certain age, your baby will need to learn to walk, and some parents think a baby walker helps build leg muscles. Placing the baby in the middle of the walker with their upper body supported by the suspended fabric can show your baby how to move the walker.

What are some of the important features of a baby walker?

If you are planning on buying a walker for your baby, there are a few features that should be included:

Broad base

A typical walker should have a wide base to reduce the risk of toppling over when babies practice mobility.

Toys

A baby walker should integrate toys to keep the baby’s attention. These activities help both mental and motor development. The toys should be age appropriate.

Wheel locks

Some baby walkers have wheel locks to ensure that the baby will not wander off on their own. This is a handy feature because parents are able to keep their little ones in place.

What Is The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Baby WalkersWhat Is The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Baby Walkers?

Baby walkers tend to have the same concept regardless of cost. They support babies as they learn to use their legs. The cheaper ones have a base that is too narrow or may not be made from durable plastic. They may lack height adjustment or wheel locks. Some of the expensive ones are fully equipped with safety features, a comfortable seat pad that is machine washable, adjustable height and toys that include lights and sounds intended to stimulate infants. An attached activity center also promotes safety.

How long does it take to assemble a baby walker?

Babies who are learning to walk may need a little help along the way. A walker may be useful in this situation. The time required to set up a new walker depends mostly on the brand of the walker. Read the consumer product first to learn how to assemble the product on your own.

What age do babies use baby walkers?

After babies start crawling, walking is the next logical step. The best time to use a baby walker is between 4 to 16 months. This is when babies hold their heads up easily and their feet touch the floor comfortably. If your baby can already walk, walkers are no longer needed.

What the professionals say about quality baby walkers in 2019

Child safety always comes to mind when discussing baby walkers. Experts point out examples of babies tumbling down stairs or falling over due to unstable bases. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have weighed in on the topic of product safety. The American Academy of Pediatrics called for a ban as recently as 2018 due to infant injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several recalls for these products [1].  The European Child Safety Alliance and ANEC issued a joint position statement as far back as 2010 regarding the risk of severe injuries [2].

Concern About Baby WalkersConcern About Baby Walkers

Higher chance of accidents

Walkers tend to move faster than parents can react, which means that babies may get their fingers caught in objects for which they are reaching, fall down the steps or topple over.

Hinders muscle development

Another concern with the use of walkers is that they are doing more harm than good in terms of helping muscles to develop. Babies’ muscles at the point they would be using a walker are not strong enough to hold them up for any length of time. It is crucial to allow babies time on their bellies so they can gain strength in their arms and legs. “Walker babies” only have their lower leg muscles developed which causes an uneven development.

Delay in motor and mental development

Studies show that babies put in walkers may have slower mental and motor development. Researchers surmise this may be due to not being able to see their own limbs. Compared to those who did not use walkers, the latter developed faster. [9]

Relying on walker’s support

Another reason why walkers are not recommended is that some babies tend to rely on them instead of relying on their own legs. This can be detrimental to a baby’s overall development.

Tips For Baby Walker SafetyTips For Baby Walker Safety

There are ways to make walkers safer for babies:

Use it for short periods of time

If you are going to use a baby walker, limit its use to 15 minutes at a time. Leaving your baby in the walker for long periods of time is not recommended as the muscles and bones may not be able to handle the pressure. When babies are between 4 to 16 months, it is better to let them develop by spending time on their tummies. This will give them the experience to test out their limbs for crawling, pushing and pulling themselves up.

Stay with your baby

Never leave your baby unattended. Since walkers move fast, falling is easy especially if the baby tugs on something. Once your baby has learned to propel themselves using the walker, it will be difficult for you to react quickly to prevent a fall.

Choose a walker with a braking mechanism

Another tip to increase the safety of walkers is to get one that has brakes on the wheels. This way, the wheels can be prevented from moving so your little one remains stationary.

Consider a baby push walker

A baby push walker is considered a better alternative to walkers because it requires parental guidance with every use.
Walker safety is based on design and parental oversight. Baby walkers are not a piece of sturdy furniture. If a baby leans against it and it does not have a wheel lock, the walker can move, and the baby can easily fall. Parents should weigh the pros and cons before purchasing [3].

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Baby Walker Resources:
[1]   United States Consumer Product Safety Commision; Baby Walkers, March 2008.
[2]   European Child Safety Alliance; Baby walkers, October 18, 2010.
[3]   United States Consumer Product Safety Commision; Infant Walkers Business Guidance & Small Entity Compliance Guide.

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