Walkers — devices with wheeled frames and suspended seats that let babies move around using their feet — are indeed a safety hazard. Walkers are a leading cause of injuries in babies, so health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. While in walkers, babies can roll into hot stoves, heaters, and pools.
Turn your little one’s first steps into a fun time by getting a walker. Walkers are devices with wheeled frames and suspended seats that let babies move around using their feet. Unfortunately, they are a leading cause of injuries in babies, so health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. While in walkers, babies can roll into hot stoves, heaters, and pools.”
Walkers, devices with wheeled frames and suspended seats that let babies move around using their feet, are—to say the least—a hindrance to your baby’s mobility. They can also be dangerous: Walkers are a leading cause of injuries in babies, so health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. Browsing our selection of baby walkers will get you started on finding a safer alternative for your little one.
Baby walkers are a leading cause of injuries in babies, so health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. While in walkers, babies can roll into hot stoves and pools. This serves as an effective way to prevent the use of baby walkers.
Walkers are devices with wheeled frames and suspended seats that let babies move around using their feet. While they are a safety hazard, walkers can keep your baby safe while he acclimates to the new world.
Your baby’s first steps can be a thrilling moment for you both. But there are many things that can go wrong, including trips to the emergency room or even death. Walkers — devices with wheels and seats that let babies move around unassisted — were a popular way to help your child learn how to walk. However, these toys are no longer recommended by health experts because they’re dangerous, especially if younger than 12 months old.
Baby Walker Disadvantages
A baby walker is a circular frame on wheels that seats a baby who has not learnt to walk yet.
Some people believe that baby walkers are useful for their babies, to entertain them and help teach them to walk. This is not true. Baby walkers can be dangerous and can actually delay your baby’s walking development.
What is an exercise jumper?
An exercise jumper, also known as a jolly jumper or baby bouncer, is a device that holds a baby in sling seat with a spring or elastic. The device either comes in a standalone frame or can be attached to a door frame.
Like a baby walker, exercise jumpers can cause accidents and delay your baby’s development.
How does a baby learn to walk?
Most babies pass the following milestones while learning to walk:
- rolling on the floor
- crawling, creeping or scooting
- pulling themselves up to stand
- moving around furniture or other stationary objects
This means that babies need to spend plenty of time on the floor, learning and practising these activities.
How can I help my baby’s walking development?
Let your baby spend lots of time on the floor. It’s a safe space for your baby to learn to roll, sit and pull themselves up to stand.
You can also place your baby close to soft furniture to help them with pulling-up.
If your baby is moving around, block off a safe area for them to play and move. You can also use a high-quality play pen or stationary activity centre.
Do baby walkers and jumpers help my baby learn to walk?
NO – baby walkers and jumpers don’t help a baby develop their walking. In fact, walkers and jumpers can impede or delay your baby achieving these important milestones. The more time babies spend in a walker or a jumper, the more delay they experience.
Walkers and jumpers take your baby’s time away from the floor so they miss out on practising important, repetitive movements needed for them to reach their walking milestones.
Babies tend to use their toes when they are in a walker or a jumper, which tightens their leg muscles and Achilles tendons (the thick cord at the back of the ankle) – this interferes with normal walking development. Once out of the device, they often want to keep using their toes, which is not how babies usually learn to walk.
When babies sit and pull themselves up, they are learning how to balance. A baby doesn’t balance in a walker, delaying learning this important skill.
Being in a walker or jumper also means less time on hands and knees in a crawling or pre-crawling position. This is important to developing weight bearing through both the pelvis and shoulders.
A variety of important movements is needed when babies are developing their walking skills, but they get fewer chances to practise these in a walker or jumper than they would on the floor.
Learning to crawlCrawling is an important skill for your baby to learn and is a big milestone in their development.READ MORELEARNING TO CRAWLLearning to walkYour baby’s first steps are one of the most exciting and memorable milestones in your child’s development.READ MORELEARNING TO WALK
Are baby walkers and exercise jumpers dangerous?
Baby walkers and exercise jumpers are not recommended in Australia.
Baby walkers are considered unsafe because they move very quickly. Your baby is also taller when upright in a walker and can reach things they usually don’t have access to. Potential dangers include:
- falling down steps or stairs
- crashing into something sharp or hard
- tipping over while moving
- being toppled by an older sibling
- accessing electrical cords or cupboards with hazardous substances (such as cleaning supplies)
- moving quickly to dangerous areas such as fireplaces, ovens, heaters or pools
- being able to reach hot drinks on tables or other dangerous objects
Each year, many babies are injured in Australia when using walkers. Some sustain serious injuries caused by burns, cuts, head injuries, broken bones, poisoning and drownings; some even die.
Exercise jumpers can also cause serious injury to your baby, including:
- falling out, causing head or limb injuries
- getting fingers trapped in the springs
- colliding with the door frame or furniture — pets or other children could also push your baby
Development delays caused by tight leg muscles and Achilles tendons can sometimes require physiotherapy treatment, being put in leg casts, or even corrective surgery.
Are baby walkers legal in Australia?
Despite not being recommended for use in Australia, they can still be purchased and are not illegal.
Child health experts and state and territory health departments recommend NOT using baby walkers or exercise jumpers.
What safety guidelines are there for baby walkers?
Baby walkers sold in Australia, must comply with Australian consumer product safety standards.
All walkers sold in Australia must have:
- a braking mechanism to help stop it falling down stairs
- specific labels with clear safety instructions about blocking access to stairs, keeping the baby in view all the time, using only on a flat surface without objects to tip over and keeping away from all objects that could burn
- prior testing to make sure it doesn’t easily tip or topple over
Parents are highly discouraged from using baby walkers. However, if you still decide to purchase one, please follow these guidelines:
- NEVER leave your baby unattended.
- ONLY use on a flat surface and block off access to steps or stairs
- REMOVE all dangerous items from the area, such as electrical cords, hot drinks, cleaning chemicals, fires, heaters, pools or toilets
- MAKE SURE the walker has a lock and a braking mechanism.
- NEVER use a walker before your baby can sit, or after your baby can walk.
- LIMIT your baby’s time in the walker for NO longer than 15 minutes.
Where can I get more information about baby walkers?
Speak to your doctor or child health nurse to learn more about how best to help your baby learn how to walk.
Walkers are a leading cause of injuries in babies, so health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. While in walkers, babies can roll into hot stoves, heaters, and pools.
Walkers and other baby gear can be dangerous. Walkers allow babies to move around their homes, and are often marketed as fun tools for stimulating your baby, but they can also be extremely dangerous. The National Safety Council reports that walkers were responsible for more than 22,000 injuries in children under 2 years of age between 2002 and 2012.
Baby Walker Pros and Cons
In Canada, the sale of baby walkers is banned. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) would like the same to be true in the US.
Why? Because baby walkers are dangerous. According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, between 1990 and 2014, more than 230,000 children less than 15 months of age were treated in US emergency departments for injuries related to walkers. The majority of injuries happen when children fall down stairs in a walker, usually injuring their head or neck, sometimes seriously.
But it’s not just stairs that can be a problem. Children in walkers can get their fingers caught, pull things down on themselves, or grab dangerous things (such as sharp objects or hot liquids) that would otherwise be out of their reach. Children can fall out of walkers and get hurt — and have drowned when they scooted into a pool or spa. There have also been injuries from toys attached to a baby walker.
Between 1990 and 2003, baby walker injuries decreased by 84.5%, as voluntary safety standards were instituted, and more families started to buy standers that didn’t move. In 2010 mandatory federal safety standards took effect. Among other things, the standards include measures to help prevent walkers from falling down stairs or tipping over, and to ensure that babies inside them are well-supported and can’t get stuck inside them. The rules also require a parking brake, to keep the walker more stationary, and have standards for the wheels themselves to keep the walkers safer. Even still, in 2014 2,000 toddlers were seen in emergency rooms for injuries due to walkers.
So why would parents use a baby walker?
Some parents buy them because they think that walkers help babies learn to walk faster. However, the opposite is true: using a walker can delay independent walking. That’s because learning to walk isn’t so much about learning to use your legs. It’s more about learning to pull to stand and then balance and take steps without support. When babies are plopped into walkers, they don’t learn any of that. They learn it by being put on the floor with something they can pull up on, like a couch or a caregiver.
The other reason is that babies like them and will play happily in them. This is absolutely true. Starting at around 6 months babies love to be upright — and love to be mobile, so that they can explore and be in the thick of things. However, there are other and safer ways to get babies upright, such as in stationary standers. As for mobility, the inconvenient truth is that not only do babies need to learn mobility by themselves, they need constant supervision as they do. Walkers can give caregivers a false sense of security and make them think that they don’t need to be within arm’s reach of the baby — when not only is that exactly where they need to be, it’s where babies want them to be.
Babies are such a blessing. They bring so much joy and laughter into our lives, but also a whole lot of worries. As a parent, it can be difficult to understand when is the right time for baby to start using walker or not. It’s natural to want to give your child freedom as soon as possible — but the risks of babies using walkers are real and many injuries have been reported among them. Using walkers may give your baby some independence, but they can also cause problems like burns caused by touching hot stovetop surfaces or suffocation in an enclosed space
Using a walker can be dangerous for your baby. It can lead to injuries, falls, and burns. Baby walkers were popularized in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the companies Baby Dan® and Graco® Baby Products. They were designed to allow babies to walk independently and play in a separate area at floor level while parents cooked, cleaned, and worked — but these devices have since been found to be dangerous
You might be thinking that your baby won’t be able to roam around much in a walker, but it’s not easy for them to stop once they start moving. Walkers are banned in many countries because of the injuries they cause babies.