Baby walkers cause tens of thousands of injuries every year

Baby walkers seem simple enough. A walker is just a small frame with a seat for a baby and four wheels. Unfortunately, baby walkers are a classic case of the law of unintended consequences. By giving a baby mobility that he/she would never normally have , baby walkers injure tens of thousands of babies every year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

    CPSC estimates that each year there are 21,300 hospital emergency room treated injuries associated with baby walkers for children under 15 months of age. CPSC receives reports of an average one to two deaths a year with baby walkers. Most of the injuries were caused by falling down stairs.
In a walker, babies can:
  • fall down stairs
  • catch the wheels on cords, thresholds and rug edges, transitions from linoleum to carpet, etc., causing walkers to tip over
  • roll accidentally into radiators, electric heaters and wood stoves
  • fall off of curbs and ledges
  • Roll right into swimming pools, ponds, etc.
In addition, the added height that a walker gives to a baby can sometimes allow a baby to reach things that are unreachable to the baby otherwise.

Besides all of this, baby walkers seem to delay the normal crawling and walking behaviors of babies who use them. According to this article:

    Many [babies] will not undertake the important task of crawling, creeping, scooting, or hitching. This stage is important for developing strength and coordination. Many parents think that walkers will help children learn to walk. As it turns out, walkers interfere with learning to walk. In addition to decreasing the desire to walk by providing an easier alternative, walkers strengthen the wrong muscles.

Steps you can take

  • The obvious step to take is clear and simple: Do not put your baby in a walker.

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