A baby walker is an extremely useful device which babies cannot walk on their own. Modern baby walkers also are for very young toddlers. They usually have a strong base made from tough hard plastic with a detached hard plastic seat and two leg holes attached. There are sit-in and stand-in models. Babies can lie down facing the walker and occasionally stand up and look around, but the sit-in models are best for feeding times, as they allow the baby to stay in the same position while they feed.
Injuries due to a baby walker are relatively rare. Although there are many types of walkers, none of them pose a serious risk to babies. It should be stressed, however, that even very small babies can sometimes get hurt when playing or moving about. However, all serious injuries involving baby walkers can easily be prevented by following proper safety precautions. When babies play on such walkers, it is important that they not walk off or turn their backs on you, and they should never run or climb into the walker.
The UK government banned the use of baby walkers for newborns in the UK in 2021, and the European Commission restricted the same practice across the continent a few years later. Australian baby walkers were also restricted some time in the late 1990s, although the ban was lifted in early 2021. However, it has recently been proposed that baby walkers are permitted for use by all infants. This is particularly attractive to busy working parents who find it difficult to juggle both baby and toddler’s sleeping schedules.
One of the safety standards cited for baby walkers in the US is the requirement that they not be used on stairs. This makes sense, because stairs present the highest levels of potential injury from falls down them. There are three main types of stairs, low rise, mid-rise, and upper rise. All require different safety considerations. For example, a toddler who has to climb up from a low step to reach an upstairs landing would be at a greater risk of suffering a fall than a baby who has access to a staircase by standing on the landing itself.
The fall hazards of stairs are well documented. Injuries from falls on stairs are the most common pediatric injuries treated in emergency rooms every year. This is particularly the case with children who have limited mobility. For example, little children can easily move up and down the stairs on their own, but if they encounter a hill or other obstacle that they have to climb over, they could easily sustain an injury. If a parent allows their child to use baby walkers on stairs, they run the risk of introducing a potential hazard themselves. It is estimated that stairs cause approximately three thousand unintentional injuries in the US each year.
One way to reduce the likelihood of injury when using baby walkers is to provide additional supervision when the walker is being used. Experts say that providing children with extra physical activity is important for their motor development. They also suggest providing a safe alternative to climbing stairs. Stairs, experts say, serve an essential developmental function in early development as it enables the baby to master the skills needed for independent walking and moving.
Experts are quick to point out that there are far more preventable injuries related to falls than those resulting from stairs. For example, getting hurt by a ladder or faulty mechanism is much less likely to result in a serious injury than getting hurt from a slippery surface or falling from a high set of stairs. Another factor that helps to reduce the number of serious injuries related to stairs is the fact that most homeowners will use baby walkers in place of ladders each winter to reach their attic. As the number of elderly people increases in this country every year the need for more accessible and safe ways for older people to get in and out of their homes is also on the rise. Using baby walkers is one such way to allow these individuals to easily enter their home without the danger of falling down some stairs.
Baby walkers do not have all the bells and whistles that adult wheelchairs have, but experts say the safety benefits of using this type of mobility aid far outweigh any disadvantages. The weight limit of the baby walkers is one of the first things that must be considered, because they will not be able to support the full weight of an adult. However, many quality walkers can safely support the weight of two people. Another consideration is whether the walker has replaceable batteries or not, because every walker does not have the same ability to run on power.