Is Baby Walker a Risky Proposition?

Most of the young parents believe that a baby walker helps their kiddo to learn walking fast. But this is a misconception as baby walkers do not essentially teach to walk. It serves the purpose of sitting in a sit and scoot around after a certain age.

Many doctors oppose the use of a baby walker and recommend not using it. It increases the risks of accidents and aids in the certain disadvantageous physical development of the baby if it’s rigorously used.

No Aid in Learning to Walk

Usually, a baby can walk at 10-15 months age. In many types of research and studies, it has been revealed that a baby walker does not help the baby to walk. Rather, over usage can impair physical development capacity by delaying. In a survey, it is shown that the kids who use baby walkers randomly are prone to this delayed walking pattern, whereas kids who do not use it or use for the very little span, learn to walk faster than the earlier ones.

Babies start to walk quietly by watching and understanding the leg movement. In the case of walkers with attached trays, the view of lower body part and feet movements is blocked which causes delayed normal motor and mental development. Most of the hospitals and pediatric institutes forbid parents to use a baby walker. Singapore hospital is in the list. Canada has banned all kinds of baby walkers from the year 2014.

Injury by Falls

Most of the injuries happen by falling down from the walkers as it tips by the stuck wheels. The consumer product safety commission has given a toll of over 3000 babies with injuries from Walker accidents among which most common are head injuries from falls while others include poisonous substances, burns from inflammable stuff like candles and twisted toes. Even getting drowned in the family pool after passing through an open patio door is a matter of time.

Baby’s feet can get entangled on different parts of the baby walker which could passively result in abrasion and bruises and even broken bones if the walker gets to move while the baby’s feet are caught.

Worst possible accidents occur when there is a staircase near the Walker. Baby walkers are speedy and often tumble down the steps resulting in Skull injuries.

Baby walkers are dangerous as they give extra height, extra speed and access to harmful substances like household stuff, e.g. detergents, pesticides, shampoo and other cosmetics, certain medicines, perfume, cleaners. These were previously kept at safe distances if not at higher racks. If left unnoticed, accidents can happen any moment and with the speed of 1 meter/Sec, it is tough to stop the walker before the accident.

A Typical Pattern of Walk

The baby’s legs are not strengthened, fully with the Walker, and the legs do not fall straight in this case. Tiptoe based walking style of baby walker does not strengthen the lower leg muscles which are important to learn walking. Only upper leg muscles are strengthened, and hips and knees tend to bend. Wrong muscle development causes impaired walking pattern and may be difficult to rectify even after moving out of the walker.

Encourage to Learn to Walk

Parents need to encourage their babies to walk by helping and holding the hands of kiddos. Stand in front of them, hold their hands and move towards yourself softly.

Buy him/her a play center and similar stuff that he can hold onto and push. Quality materials and toys must be brought which have a broad base and no sharp edges.

Massaging the baby can start necessary stimulation, which helps in moving limbs and walk.

Buy Safer Ones

If you have already decided to buy a baby walker, look for the JPMA seal on the package that indicates Juvenile products manufacturers association. The organization optimizes certain features like walkers have to be broader than 36 inches so that it cannot cross doorways.

Auto lock wheels and brakes are added that permit stands with support. Brakes stop the moving walker and help in avoiding severe accidents. It also stops moving if one of the wheels tips over the edge of a step thus reducing the risk of falling.

Look out for newly made ones with designs to make it slow which help babies to control over their movement. Make sure to understand the safety precautions and guidelines before buying. Consult the store manager and manual book. Do not opt for second-hand products where manuals are not attached.

Not only in the absence of parents but accidental injuries happen even when the parents are there. After a certain moment of time, parents go into a sense of security that the baby is safe in the Walker. According to a survey by a journal, Pediatrics, 78% of the injuries occur at the time of parental supervision.

Undocumented incidents do not grab media focus, concluding the fact that the baby walkers are entirely safe.

Alternative Options

In the today’s fast-paced age, working parents want relief and easy to use things for safe keeping of the baby. That’s where baby walkers come in. It is good to engage baby’s mind and attention with the add-on toys on the sides of walkers. But the risks of accidents are also high. You can go for stationary centers of activities which look like walkers but don’t have any wheels along with having rotating seats that can bounce and tip. Another choice is a playing yard or playpen which is a safety zone as children sit, walk, roll and crawl under the careful scrutiny of the caretakers.

Conclusion

If possible, it’s better to avoid the baby walker. But do not overlook safety standards if you want to buy a baby walker. Consult a doctor about the pros and cons of the product and then only go for it.

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