Are Baby Walkers Safe for Your Baby?

Baby walkerMany parents swear by the infamous baby walker. If you have been stuck inside with a squirmy infant all day, you can relate. Baby walkers make babies happier and keep them entertained for at least an hour or two. It is the perfect toy…or is it? The baby walker has been put under several different studies, and many are saying it may not be the best thing for your baby.

Baby walkers may delay the natural development of babies. A study was done between babies that used baby walkers and those who did not and found that babies who used baby walkers developed mentally and physically slower than the non-walkers group. The study says, “The data concluded that infants who used walkers sat, crawled and walked later than nonusers, and scored lower on the Bayley scales of mental and motor skills than the non-walker group.” So not only did the baby walkers not help the babies walk sooner, it made them walk later, as well as delaying other major milestones.

The study was also done with several sets of twins. One twin would use the walker and his sibling would not. In all of the twins, the baby that used a walker showed signs of developing at a slower rate.

Not only do baby walkers cause majority of children to hit their developmental milestones later, but walkers are also a major cause of infant injuries. Babies may not be as fragile as they look, but it is still best to minimize falls and injuries whenever possible. It is better for a baby to attempt to stand on their own and tumble over rather than for them to be standing with the aid of a walker before their time and then take a fall.  Majority of the injuries resulted from babies falling down stairs. Quite a lot of baby walker injuries happen every year. For example, “In 1999, in the United States alone, 8800 children under age of 15 months were treated in emergency rooms from baby walker injuries.” While most of the injuries were minor, 34 fatalities have been recorded from 1977 through 1998, with a possibility of more fifteen years later.  

In the end, when it comes to your baby’s safety, don’t take any chances. There are several other safe toys available to keep babies happy and advancing. It is not worth the risk, no matter how small the risk may be.

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