Determining the Safety of Baby Walkers

March 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Baby Gear

For many years, baby walkers have been a huge discussion, specific to safety. In fact, so much controversy has occurred that some countries have now banned baby walkers altogether. Even so, there continues to be many questions that remain unanswered. One additional area of confusion is that baby walkers are often described as other types of equipment or toys.

For instance, one kind of baby walker is made for pushing by a small child as a play toy. One of the more popular options is a toy walker that the child can sit on and then use for carrying dolls, stuffed animals, and other toys around. A toy baby walker such as this is intended for older children, those who are already taking several steps or even walking. The reason is that these children are relatively mobile so the risk of accident is lessened.

While toys are one thing, the type of baby walker used by babies to sit, giving mom or dad a break, is what poses risk. Typically, this type of walker is round and designed so the baby can move his or her feet to move from one location to another. A baby walker such as this is intended for babies that do not yet walk, using the walker as a means of getting around but there is risk of injury.

The good news is that over the years, new safety standards have been developed and regulated. This has resulted in a change of design that includes some kind of buffer so the baby walker would stop prior to going down steps. Obviously, preventing a small baby from falling in such a way is crucial. Therefore, any parent with a baby walker should avoid using outdated models.

The way a baby walker is made gives the baby height while still being able to move his or her feet around on the floor. The benefit is that the baby now has some mobility but with this, comes the risk of the baby getting into electrical cords, pulling things off the table, getting hold of handles on hot pots, and other potential danger. As a baby grows, his or her reach increases, which puts that child in a position of experiencing head trauma. Another possible risk with a baby walker is that as they scoot along walls, little fingers and toes can get pinched.

Now, for the baby, having the ability to move around is exciting and fun. What surprises most parents is how fast a child can get from point A to point B using a baby walker. At the age that a baby is crawling, parents often see frustration. After all, the baby wants to move and move quickly.

So the question is this – can a baby walker work as an aid in helping a child learn to walk. The answer is no. It is true that a baby walker will provide the child with more mobility while also building muscles from scooting around the floor. The thing parents need to remember is that getting around in a baby walker is completely different from a child standing on his or her own two feet and walking. What experts have discovered is that often, a baby that is placed in a walker will actually begin walking later than a child who is not placed in a walker.

Now, as a parent, you will need to make your own decision but we encourage you to give the baby walker a lot of thought. If you choose to use a walker, your child should never be left alone. Additionally, with your baby now gaining more mobility, take time to put locks on drawers and doors, place security gates at the entrance to any stairs, make sure electrical cords are securely hidden, and take all the precautions necessary to keep your baby 100% safe.