Waiting for your child to walk their first steps is an unforgettable experience for parents. Plenty of people think that by the use of baby walkers, the child will learn to walk faster.
On the other hand, others believe this device is associated with a high risk of injury and declare it unsafe for children.
There are a lot of rumors about baby walkers; some are true, while others are just fake facts that spread around.
Here in this article, we’ve discussed the safety of baby walkers and the common misconceptions around them.
What Is a Baby Walker?
Baby walkers existed as early as the fifteenth century and are still used very often! These devices consist of a plastic frame with a fabric sling in between where your baby can sit in.
In addition, there are wheels present in the bottom so that the baby can easily run around by pushing their feet on the ground.
The Myths and Truths About the Use of Baby Walkers
Sometimes as a parent, it’s natural to feel the need to have a few minutes to yourself. And most parents do that by placing their baby in the baby walker so that the child remains calm and happy as well.
This may look like an ideal solution, but it’s really not looking at the reality of it. You might think that it’s a safe place to keep your baby for a bit, but you’ll be surprised to hear about the injuries babies went through just because of this device. Did you know baby walkers are now banned in Canada? And other countries also promote not using it.
Parents have a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the use of baby walkers; hence we’ve compiled a few myths along with the actual facts of using a baby walker.
- Myth: Baby walkers help a child walk earlier due to the support it provides
Fact: This is one of the biggest reasons why people buy a walker for their child; however, it’s not true. The walker holds the baby upright; hence, the child does not learn the correct balance and posture skills needed for walking. This is why you should avoid the walker so that your child can learn the skills needed to walk independently.
- Myth: Babies can be left in the walker for a little while without supervision
Fact: Leaving your child unattended in a baby walker is one of the worst things you can do. There are a lot of cases of falls and injuries associated with the walker. This is because babies tend to move pretty fast when placed in a walker and have an opportunity to pick up dangerous items like a knife.
- Myth: The use of baby walkers helps in the developmental process of the baby
Fact: There is a lot of evidence that proves that the use of walkers ends up slowing down the development of the child. Babies who use the walker before crawling tend to crawl and walk later as compared to those who don’t.
- Myth: The strength of the baby’s leg increases by using a baby walker
Fact: It’s actually quite the opposite. The use of a baby walker hinders the natural posture of a child. The child doesn’t learn how to carry their own weight, which can actually lead to hip, joint, and ankle problems in the future.
What Are the Safety Concerns of Using a Baby Walker?
The thought of using a baby walker might be tempting, but you probably shouldn’t as they’ve proved to be unsafe due to reasons including:
1. Risk of Injuries
These walkers have wheels present due to which they move very fast, which makes them risky, especially if the child is unsupervised.
The most common injuries include:
- Head trauma (bumps and bruises) due to a fall
- Burns (access to unsafe places like the kitchen)
- Drowning (by falling into a pool)
- Pinched toes and fingers
2. Delayed Development
Walkers were technically made to help babies walk, but it has the opposite effect. It delays child brain development and balancing skills as the child starts relying on the walker for support.
Alternatives to Baby Walkers
Instead of using a baby walker, there are other methods you can safely keep your child for a limited period of time while you do chores.
- Keeping the baby on the floor in a safe area where they can do their tummy time and learn to roll over or sit up.
- Use of Stationary activity center
- Playpen if the child can move on their own
- Put baby gates surrounding the safe area
Whatever method you pick, ensure that the baby is within your sights, as young children should never be left alone.
How to Safely Use A Baby Walker at Home
If you still want to use a baby walker, then you can practice some rules to prevent your child from injuries.
- Do not leave the child unattended.
- Block access to unsafe places like stairs, kitchen, fireplaces
- Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines thoroughly when assembling
Keep in mind that the risk of using a baby walker outweighs any benefit of using a walker.
The conclusion is that you should always avoid using baby walkers due to the amount of risk associated with using one.
A baby will learn how to walk on their own properly and naturally hence using a walker isn’t necessary at all.