Does a Baby Walker Hinder Development?

When you or I were little, didn’t everyone have a baby walker of some sort? Over the last few years, there has been a massive overhaul of the use of baby walkers of any description.

 

Do baby walkers hinder development

 

The findings and results of the studies are unbelievable and will probably shock you.

When I had my daughter, my parents were keen to get her a baby walker as it seems like a lovely present to give. However, sadly there are hidden dangers and a dark side to baby walkers that may make you rethink whether you would actually want your little one to play with and use one.

To summarise, tests and studies have shown that the use of baby walkers does hinder babies developing strength and walking skills. If you add up the total time that a baby spends in a baby walker, for every 24 hours of time spent in the walker, it could delay the time it takes for baby to learn to stand and walk by as many as 3-4 days per 24 hours spent in the walker.

(24 hours sounds like a lot of time in a walker, but when you consider if they spent 2 hours in their walker, it would only take 12 days to hit 24 hours in total. This could delay their independent walking and standing progress by days.)

 

There are other reasons why people are totally against baby walkers now, (including any toy walkers, bouncers or any other product that lifts baby off their feet to a standing position.)

Reasons why baby walkers hinder progress and are dangerous:

  • Walkers do not help to teach babies how to walk, they provide support in an unnatural way that puts extra strain on their hips and spine.
  • A baby walker restricts movement and discourages baby from crawling.
  • In terms of movement, a baby walker allows babies to move at a speed that is more advanced than they are able to cope with, which can ultimately lead to accidents as they are moving faster than their parents can.
  • A baby sitting in a baby walker is at a greater height than if they were crawling or lying down. This has led to many, many accidents over the years, with babies being able to reach things that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to – hot thing, heavy things or dangerous objects.
  • It is not very often a baby will fall out of a walker, bouncer or other unit but it is a possibility. Many accidents happen from the use of a walker that is a ‘push along’ type, the wheels pushed with the weight of baby trying to stand up makes it move quicker than they can walk; leading to an inevitable fall or tumble.

Here are some of the facts about the use of baby walkers from the NHS:

  • “Over 40% of children who use a baby walker end up getting hurt. (Estimated 4,000 injuries per year in the UK.)
  • “25% of babies aged 6-12 months in hospital with burns and scalds had been in a baby walker.”
  • “Because the walker holds them upright, the child does not learn the proper balance skills needed for walking.”
  • “In a walker, babies loose opportunities to learn important motor and perceptual skills such as distance and depth, and key concepts such as in/out and on/under.”

Is a baby walker dangerous?

I was once in support of baby walkers, but after the research I have done and the shocking statistics I have read about, I would no longer recommend the use of a baby walker.

Instead, try to allow babies as much time to crawl, shuffle and wriggle on their tummy’s as much as possible, this helps them to develop gross motor skills and strength.

If you do want to use a baby walker, try to limit the time spent in the walker, 10 minutes a day would be perfect, and remember to keep a close eye on children when they are in a baby walker, they can move at incredible speeds… Especially on laminate flooring!

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