Just a little distraction can make you miss that precious moment when your little pumpkin gets to take his first step!
That is why many parents cannot help but invest a walker to help accelerate their baby’s physical development and monitor their transition from the crawling stage to the walking stage.
At least, we all consider this to be a great idea if we didn’t know better. Right?
No doubt, a baby walker can be a lifesaver, which is why it’s often one of the first items most parents usually purchase once their baby starts moving around.
Apart from its fancy look, baby walkers come with a lot of features that make them great entertainment tools. Some of these include bells, whistles, lights, toys and so many other things little children love to play with.
In fact, with the way some of these walkers are designed, you may even be tempted to get into the fun. LOL.
But is the big toy all pleasant as it seems? Can it really make your little fella walk sooner? Or is there more to what we are actually being told?
Are Baby Walkers Safe For Development? Here’s the Truth!
While baby walkers continue to grow in popularity, there have been a lot of bad reports on their suitability for infants. Contrary to what many parents believe, a baby walker doesn’t really teach a child how to walk.
In reality, most of the time, these walkers are actually responsible for the delayed walking development of some babies.
The Major Problem With Walkers
You will agree that babies development usually occur in stages following a specific process. First, they begin to roll their heads and push up; next they learn how to sit; before you know it, they start crawling and finally, they are ready to walk.
In other words, their muscles develop according to a certain pattern.
This pattern also correlates to their mental development. So putting a seating baby or toddler in a walking ring before he’s actually prepared for it can hamper his mobile development and result to some serious accidents or injuries.
Babies usually get the desire to walk when they are six months old. During that time, they have a lot of difficulty and all their muscles in their arms and legs are put work.
They eventually begin to scoot, then comes the moment they start crawling before they finally get to the point of standing upright on both feet.
The major problem with using a walker is that it tends to take the struggle away from your baby so he never gets to engage his arms and legs like he should. This, in turn, often results to developmental delays in the little champ.
But the real problem lies in the misuse of these walkers. Most parents feel that because they have their babies strapped in some ring, they are can freely look away.
No way! Unfortunately, this neglect is often the cause of many accidents. There have been several cases of kids pulling things over their heads or falling off the stairs.
In both cases, there are always more chances of incurring a serious injury. This is why walkers are not recommended most of the time.
Experts’ Stand on Baby Walkers
Guess what? In America alone, over 8800 babies in 1999 were admitted to emergency wards for injuries caused by walkers. Isn’t that terrible? It is indeed!
So back to our question – are walkers for babies good or bad? By now, you probably know the answer to that.
We do not recommend baby walkers, simply because they are not safe. Believe it or not, we are not even the first to reach such a conclusion. In fact, baby walkers have been banned since 2004.
So What Are The Alternatives To Baby Walkers?
Having discovered the risk associated with using a baby walker, what if you still desire to provide your baby with an entertainment center?
The answer is simple – invest in an activity center. That’s your best call.
A stationary activity center is a much better choice than a normal baby walker because it is safe and won’t interfere with your child’s natural development.
More so, the lack of wheels means you will have them positioned exactly where you want them to be.
Alternatively, if your baby has gotten to the sitting stage, you can place him on the floor and surround him with interesting toys.
Other solutions you can also look at include playpens or play yards.
What If I Really Want A Walker?
In case you still decide a baby walker, we advise observing the following safety precautions to reduce the risk or accidents and injuries.
- Only purchase a walker that has been tested to meet the latest safety standards. Look out for approval by recognized bodies like the CPSC and the JPMA.
- Make sure the walker comes with a break feature.
- A wider baby walker might actually be better since it would be difficult to fit through doors.
- When you have a baby in a walker, endeavor to shut all access to stairs or other rooms where you don’t want your kid to get into.
- Never neglect a baby in walker. 99% of walker related accidents that occur can be prevented if parents keep watch and don’t get distracted.
At this point, you probably know the potentials a baby walker holds for your kid. But as a parent, you are in a better position to decide what’s best for your little pumpkin. Whatever you do, make sure you always play it safe. It’s your call!