May 30 , 2020
Baby walkers are one of the most popular yet unsafe devices out there. In fact, they’ve even been banned by the Canadian government due to the sheer number of injuries they caused. A 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that between 1990 and 2014, around 230, 676 children had to be given emergency treatment after suffering from infant walker-related injuries. In Canada, 1,935 baby walker-related injuries were reported in 16 hospitals across the country from April 1990 to April 2002. Here's what you should know about the risks and disadvantages of baby walkers.
The Disadvantages Of A Baby Walker
1. Delayed Motor Skills Development
Although new and improved safety standards have lessened the rate of walker-related injuries, a baby walker can still harm instead of help your child in many ways. One of the worst things a baby walker can do to your child is get in the way of their motor skills development.
But wait! Aren’t baby walkers designed to help babies walk? They are, but studies have revealed that these devices don’t actually help your child learn to walk normally.
Babies need to learn how to balance and pull themselves up. They need to learn how to stand and walk upright without any outside help. When a baby sits in a walker, he doesn’t learn how to properly use his leg muscles or support his body weight. He only learns how to push himself forward using his toes. In other words, a baby walker will only result in your baby missing out on the gross motor skills they need for healthy growth and development.
Speaking of gross motor skills, another reason why baby walkers are bad news is that they don’t allow your baby to enjoy enough playtime on the floor. Babies need to learn not only how to walk, but also how to crawl and lie down. Activities like crawling and tummy time teach babies how to support their weight using their arms and torso, as well as how to properly utilize the muscles in their body.
2. Lack Of Security
Inanimate objects aren’t babysitters. No matter how many “safe” or “risk-free” labels are plastered onto them, they can still become serious hazards if used without proper supervision.
Baby walkers provide kids with additional speed. This means more accidents can happen behind your back. Kids in baby walkers can slide and fall off a flight of stairs, grab hazardous objects (like knives and scissors) from high places, get their fingers caught in gaps between furniture, and wander into unsafe areas like your backyard and pool.
Walker-related accidents can still happen even if you close all your doors and clear all your tables. Older siblings, pets, and stationary objects like power outlets and radiators can still pose harm to your baby. He can even hurt himself simply by toppling over or running too fast and slamming against a wall.
Safer Alternatives To Baby Walkers
Your baby doesn’t have to miss out on the fun of play gear. These days there are a lot of baby walker alternatives that promote joy and laughter without any kind of danger or delay in development. Here are some alternative baby products that you and your child can enjoy at home.
- Stationary Activity Centers: These are basically baby walkers without wheels. They’re designed to help babies bounce, tip forward and back, and play with toys all in one place. The best part about stationary activity centers is that they allow babies to enjoy playing by themselves without posing any risks to their health or physical and mental development.
- Play Pens: Play pens are another great alternative to baby walkers. They’re mini-playgrounds that provide your baby with endless opportunities to learn and play at his own place. Babies can play with an assortment of toys inside a safe play pen or enjoy valuable tummy time with their parents. Play pens can also help babies develop vital motor skills and learn how to crawl, stand up, and walk properly.