Last Updated on March 14, 2023
The baby walker is one of the most popular baby gear you can find in any toy store. It helps your little ones to learn how to walk and explore their surroundings, but there are some safety issues that parents need to know about before buying a baby walker.
This article will talk about what exactly a baby walker is and how it works, the benefits of using it, its potential dangers, and important safety guidelines for parents who want to buy one!
- What is a baby walker?
- Does a baby walker help in learning how to take steps or develop walking skills?
- Why do baby walkers delay a child's walking development?
- How are baby walkers so risky?
- 1) Falls down steps or stairs:
- 2) Crashes into something sharp or hard:
- 3) Tipping over while moving:
- 4) Accessing electrical cords or cupboards with hazardous substances:
- 5) Moving quickly to dangerous areas:
What is a baby walker?
A baby walker also called an activity or busy center is simply designed to help babies learn how to take steps and explore their surroundings. It can be used as soon as they are able to support themselves in the sitting position.
A lot of modern walkers have four wheels so that your child won’t tip over easily. There are many different styles and features available on the market today – from jogging strollers with high backrests that convert into stationary seats to more traditional models with two large wheels at either side.
Even if you have carpet throughout your home, you may still get walkers that are made for it. Our Amy Baby Review experts have reviewed the best baby walker on carpet. You may find some inspiration by going to the link.
On the other hand, if you believe your child is too short for a walker, you may still get a short baby walker.
Does a baby walker help in learning how to take steps or develop walking skills?
Some people believe that baby walkers are necessary for entertaining and instructing babies to learn to walk. However, even some of them have seen results when using their walkers, while others claim they don’t feel any difference.
Claire McCarthy, MD, a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said using a baby walker can delay your child’s walking development and can be dangerous.
Researchers have had a few theories. The first is that walking is genetically determined. The second is related to what age a child starts practicing things like crawling and climbing. This theory suggests that development in these areas gives babies enough of a physical foundation to master walking eventually.
The third idea relates motor control to when babies start taking steps on their own two feet: toddlers who are much better at balancing will be able to walk at an earlier age than those who struggle with this skill earlier. But what is the appropriate age for baby walker? It’s debatable. However, it’s difficult to give a definitive answer because your child’s development milestones will differ from those of other babies.
Pediatricians also agree with that. However, to maximize your baby’s skill acquisition for locomotion, you should ask him or her to keep moving every single day, even if it means swaddling them up.
Why do baby walkers delay a child’s walking development?
Baby walkers immobilize your child and deprive them of the opportunity to practice important movements needed for walking. When babies are in a walker, they tend to use their toes for balance. This hinders the normal development of walking skills, and once out of the walker, they often want to continue using their toes instead of what is natural.
When babies crawl on the floor and pull themselves up, they are practicising to balance. Sitting in a walker doesn’t help with balancing and doesn’t teach the skill the baby can use when trying to take their next step on their own.
Babies who use walkers typically spend less time on the ground crawling, which is important for developing their weight distribution by spending more minutes on all fours.
When babies are learning to walk, they can’t gain the much-needed practice that would allow them to develop these skills if they spend a lot of their time in baby walkers.
However, there are still several benefits of using a baby walker. We have a post about baby walker advantages disadvantages. You may learn more by reading it.
How are baby walkers so risky?
Baby walkers are a great invention for parents who want to give their baby some freedom of movement. However, when used incorrectly, they can lead to accidents and injuries. We’ve discussed some risk factors below that you should know about if you plan on using a baby walker with your child.
1) Falls down steps or stairs:
Baby walkers provide the perfect opportunity for babies to take those first few wobbly steps without any assistance from an adult. But what happens if they lose their balance?
They may not have enough control over their movements yet, so it would be easy for them to fall down the stairs or even off a step ladder onto the hard floor below. This is especially true if they are pushed by an older sibling or bump into a wall.
2) Crashes into something sharp or hard:
Baby walkers can be really mobile, so they may end up crashing into things in their path. They could hit something sharp like the edge of a table or even run over an object on the floor that is dangerously pointy (like a shard from broken dishes).
3) Tipping over while moving:
A baby could also tip over while moving if they are going around the furniture. It’s not safe to have them walk in their baby walker because it would be really easy for them to fall down and get seriously injured.
4) Accessing electrical cords or cupboards with hazardous substances:
Even though the walker has a built-in brake to stop their motion, they can easily reach out and explore what is around them. They could find something hazardous like electrical cords or chemicals from cleaning supplies in a cupboard that are not off-limits.
5) Moving quickly to dangerous areas:
Some babies are so determined that they will not stop until they reach their destination. If this happens and it is a hot area such as near an oven or fireplace, you could look at a major fire hazard!
Some safety guidelines for using a baby walker:
Safety is of utmost importance when dealing with babies, so it’s important to keep your child happy and safe. To make sure that your child has fun while they’re learning how to navigate, here are some important safety recommendations for keeping your little one safe during their first year of walking.
-Make sure the walker is JPMA certified and complies with all product safety standards.
-You should stay near your baby at all times and be wary of their ability to move, as they can quickly be in a dangerous place.
-If the walker has wheels, make sure to install a protective cover, so they don’t get caught.
-Don’t allow your baby to use their hands-on rough surfaces like concrete or wood flooring, as this can lead to injuries and calluses. They should instead be using the handles of their walker for support during each step.
-Provide a flat surface for your baby to use a walker.
-Only use this product in a “baby-proofed” area. This means your baby can’t come into contact with dangerous objects like electrical cords, hot drinks, chemicals, and more.
-Choose a walker with a lock function that prevents it from rolling when you don’t want it to.
-Only use a walker if your baby is able to sit without assistance and can already operate it on their own because they otherwise risk the chance of injury.
-Don’t allow your baby to use the walker for longer than 15 minutes.
– It is also important to clean your baby walker on a regular basis so that germs and viruses can’t do any harm to your infant. We’ve put up a guide on why it is necessary to keep your baby walker clean. You may read it for further information.
Which baby walkers are certified to U.S. safety standards?
According to the consumer product safety commission of the United States, an infant walker should comply with ASTM safety standards. The ASTM infant walker standard includes the following provisions:
- Preventing walkers from falling downstairs when going in the forward, backward, and sideways directions.
- Tipping resistance will be tested to ensure that walkers are stable when in a stationary position on flat surfaces, including forwarding and rear tip resistance tests.
- Dynamic and static load testing will be done to ensure that the child remains fully supported while stationary and while bouncing or jumping.
- Occupant retention would be set to help prevent entrapment.
- Safety and durability would be ensured through torque tests and tension tests.
- Features of walkers that prevent entrapment and cuts (minimum and maximum opening size, accessible coil springs, leg openings, and edges that can scissor or shear)
- Walkers should have a locking system to prevent them from collapsing while in use.
- The permanence of labels will be tested and monitored to meet the requirements for adhesion and
- Warning requirements and instructional literature
Please refer to 16 CFR Part 1216 for the accepted modifications to ASTM F 977-07.
How Can Parents Help Their Baby’s Walking Development?
There are many ways that parents can help their baby develop a love for walking. Some of the best tips and tricks for helping your baby develop their love for walking are as follows:
– Help them to use their hands to support themselves. This will help them feel more confident with balance and body control.
– Give them plenty of opportunities to practice with you nearby so that they can learn from your steps. When practicing, make sure there is no furniture or other objects in the way because it might confuse him (or her).
As he gets used to doing these exercises on his own, gradually increase how far away you stand from him when he practices until eventually, he’s able to walk without any assistance at all!
– Letting a child take an exploratory walk is also another good way to help their development. Allow him (or her) to explore different textures on the floor, get up close and personal with furniture or pets in order to see how it feels from a closer distance, etc.
– Encourage your baby by giving them positive feedback after accomplishing something difficult, like taking that first step without holding onto anything! This will help boost his confidence for future accomplishments, so don’t be afraid of letting them know you’re proud!
– Showing them pictures of other children walking can also really motivate him (or her). It’s not unusual for babies at this age to become frustrated when they try but cannot do what others around them seem easy to do. Seeing these images might help this frustration to lessen.
– Be patient! Walking is a skill that takes time and practice, just like any other. The key is for parents not to get frustrated or upset when their baby tries but doesn’t succeed the first few times.”
The wrap up:
We hope you have found this article a helpful resource for knowing a baby walker is good or bad. To sum up, we just want to mention that a baby walker is a great tool for children to explore the world on their own.
But it also has its dangers, so let them use it responsibly and only with adult supervision. Make sure you read safety instructions before using one!
If you’re not comfortable letting your child roam around without an eye in sight, we recommend looking into other alternatives like playpens or exersaucers that will let him move around happily while keeping him safe from harm.
Is there anything else about baby walkers you would like us to know? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
We look forward to hearing what you have to say!
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