Don’t Use Baby Walkers

Just under half of all children using walkers will experience an injury 2

 Baby walkers cause delay in normal development 1

Parents believe putting babies in walkers provides two benefits;

To keep them safe and encourage them to walk.

BOTH ARE MYTHS

 The use of baby walkers for normal healthy infants are neither necessary nor recommended for a child’s development.

There are two main reasons

1. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT BABY WALKERS IMPROVE YOUR CHILDS PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

 

Babies walk when they are ready. This will depend on their development, personality, experience and opportunities.

  • Using baby walkers limits the amount of time spent in other positions. The lack of opportunity to practice floor skills like rolling, crawling and kneeling delays walking, as they are missing out on these normal experiences.
  • Walkers interfere with a child’s vision of his feet and body when he moves. Visual feedback is important for a child to learn about his movement.

 

  • The walker doesn’t encourage normal walking and the child may learn to walk with an abnormal pattern such as “walking on toes” and going backwards. Ultimately this may affect their quality of walking in later life
  • Babies in walkers stand on their toes, because their bones and muscles are not ready to support their weight. 4

 

 2. USE OF BABY WALKERS CAN BE UNSAFE

Babies can reach things you don’t expect. Especially objects at higher levels. (cookers, plants and ornaments)
  • Babies can not move away from danger when they are in a walker. It is possible the walker can tip, or fall down a height/ stairs.

More than 14,000 children go to hospital each year because of baby walker injuries 2

 

  • Documented evidence has shown that babies have been injured whilst in baby walkers. They have been banned in Canada and countries in Europe. 4

1 Garrett et al., 2002  Locomotor milestones and babywalkers, British medical Journal

2 NH Depart. Health and Human Services, Childrens Hospital Dartmouth

3 Australian Physiotherapy Association 2002 Press release

4 Jentel 2004 Neonates CD Rom

PLAY SAFE – PLAY ON THE FLOOR

Don’t be in a rush to see your child walk. All floor skills are important for preparing your child to stand, balance and walk independently.

Place guards in front of dangerous places in the home and let your child move freely. Use a play pen to safely enclose your child whilst you do tasks that take you out of the room.

Remember – nothing takes the place of a watchful eye.

NEVER leave a baby alone

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