A baby walker is a device designed to help babies who cannot walk yet maneuver around their homes. The idea behind this concept is that it will keep the baby entertained for long periods of time and possibly give the baby exercise. Most of these walkers are made of plastic with a wheeled base on the bottom. Now this is the part I don’t really like…the plastic. While seeing my friend’s baby bouncing in a very colorful, eye-hurting walker I cannot help thinking if it’s doing something good or bad something to my baby’s leg muscles, is she going t walk on her toes, will she be able to walk by herself without that cloth seat in the middle of the walker…? Well, I still do not know one hundred percent, which walker I should purchase for my daughter but I did some research and though it would be helpful if I sum up the huuuge amount of ideas and opinions people have. This is among of the first and most commonly used models of baby walkers, from the 1920s…Although it looks pretty…yeah, for a vintage fair display, it is obviously not comfortable for the baby. Aside from the entertainment this toy gives a child (not the one in the picture above, obviously), parents give other reasons for using the walker such as promoting walking and providing exercise. However, up to one-third of parents have said they use the walker because they feel it will keep their infant safe. Unfortunately, none of these are true. The few studies that have been done looking at the how walkers affect development have shown that they do not affect the time at which a child learns to walk. I am sure you have seen numerous articles about walkers being bad for your children, but did you know they are actually banned in Canada? Surely, there must be something fishy about them…Putting a baby in a walker is like giving a teenager a Ferrari — definitely not recommended. That’s why, as of April 2007, Canada has banned the sale, importation and advertising of all baby walkers. It’s against the law to even sell a used baby walker at a garage sale or flea market. The purpose of the use of this tool is for increase the baby walk ability, although some pediatricians do not agree with that opinion because they think walking is a process of adaptation that will accrue in accordance with age children and the doctors also claimed that this is merely a way of producers to increase sales of their products. To support the claim, these doctors have done studies and reviews that show that Baby Walkers did not increase the infant’s ability to walk but it makes the baby suffered injuries. Warnings have been issued to parents by the American Academy of Pediatrics and some other organizations about the use of Baby Walkers. Now, these articles are all citing the same issues, but lets be honest… the problem isn’t with the walkers. The problem is using a walker in an unsafe environment and for too long. It should be more than half an hour when your baby is under 9 months. In my opinion that is the main issue with the walkers. The few studies that have been done looking at the how walkers affect development have shown that they do not affect the time at which a child learns to walk. And in fact, most studies have shown that if there is any effect on walking, it is a delay of a few weeks. Babies who use a walker tend to have an abnormal gait at first, but this tends to resolve quickly with time. Because I am going to buy our first baby walker I did some research and Parent-assisted baby walkers are the way to go. Try the Juppy Baby Walker and skip the traditional baby walker. Babies learn to walk in part by watching and understanding how their feet and legs move. If a walker has a tray, they can’t see what’s happening with their lower body and don’t get the information they need about their motor development . In this case the role of parents is needed to keep their babies pay attention when using the jumper walker. Never leave your baby in a wheel walker to roam the possibility that your baby is running towards something interesting that can cause accidents resulting in injury. Also, do not leave the baby in the walker to roam close to the toilet and kitchen. If you have a swimming pool keep your baby away to a safe distance from the pool. In general, baby walkers have gotten safer since the early 2000s, when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission worked with manufacturers to develop better safety standards for these products. Walkers on the market now should have “stair-fall protection” — either a gripping mechanism that keeps the walker from going over the edge of a stairwell or a design that prevents the walker from fitting through a doorway. However, some manufacturers continue to ignore these standards. Also, older walkers (such as those bought secondhand) may not have these safety features. “A few minutes spent and a few steps safely taken in a walker each day won’t harm baby, but too much time in his first little car is neither safe nor healthy. We discourage the use of walkers or any device that encourages baby to rely on outside assistance for locomotion rather than on his own creativity or initiative. Walkers reverse the normal process of neurological development, giving the lower half of the body an ability that the upper half is not yet ready to cope with. Studies have shown that infants who spend a large portion of their day in walkers may exhibit delayed motor skills, especially in learning to walk correctly.”~ Dr. Sears at AskDrSears.com
All in all, Every child is different. Just like everything else, if it’s used safely and in moderation, it probably will not effect a child’s walking. I will try the jumper walker at first because my daughter tries to transmit us “it is time you teach me walk!”. But I will use it only a few minutes a day. When she will be around 9 months i will try to buy a wheeled baby walker so she can have a bit of independence. The question that remains, are walkers a no-no or is it just a matter of opinion? I will keep you updated and see the progress after we purchase the walker. Your very best alternative? Floor time! In today’s busy world, many babies have an immense lack of floor play time, not just due to using exersaucers (which I have just found out is a stationary play center) or jumpers, but going from the car seat to the bouncer seat to the swing to the exersaucer to the high chair and back again! Playing on the floor is the the best place for a baby to learn and to stimulate his visual, sensory, gross, fine and cognitive skills. What makes it even better is if you get down on the floor and play with him!