Are infant walkers dangerous? Yes! Infant walkers are dangerous…so do yourself a favor and keep reading.
Yes! Infant walkers are dangerous. The use of infant walkers it’s just an accident waiting to happen! The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on the sale and manufacturing of infant walkers.
Due to voluntary safety standards that were called for baby walkers in 1997, and more detailed standards which became mandatory in 2010, the amount of accidents caused by baby walkers has declined, but it still represents a significant source of injury among young children. Some of the safety standards put in place are to make walkers wider so they cannot fit through most doors, and to add brakes to stop them at the edge of steps. However, this change didn’t alter the fact that walkers’ stills have wheels, which provides this young population with increased mobility and the potential exposure to dangerous situations.
TRUE OR FALSE: If I watch my kid an accident is not going to happen.
FALSE! Most walker injuries happen while adults are present and supervising their child. Children can move very fast in a walker and even though the parent is present, he/she couldn’t respond quickly enough.
What kind of injuries are we talking about?
- Head/neck injuries and broken bones typically occurs after a fall down the stairs. Falling downstairs is the most common accident, and accounts for 74% of all infant walker related injuries. Falling out of the walker accounts for about 15% of injuries. Just like falling downstairs, falling out of the walker could cause significant head and neck injuries like concussions and skull fractures as well as broken bones.
- Poisoning, accidental drowning, and burns… the mobility gained using infant walkers allows babies to gain access and proximity to objects and places that otherwise would be completely out of reach for them. Think about how much easier it becomes for an infant in a walker to grab a hot drink from a coffee table, reach the stove or a heater, have access to the fireplace, grab some detergent from under the sink, or accidentally fall into a pool. Accidents due to proximity and access accounts for 2.8% of infant walker related injuries. Burns to face, neck and arms are by far the most frequently seen among this group of injuries.
Are there any benefits to using infant walkers?
None! The idea that walkers can help babies walk or advance their development is a misconception. Contrary to most parents believes, it’s use could delay motor development.
What should I do with my baby’s walker?
Even with product warning labels and campaigns to educate parents and caregivers, many families continue to purchase and use infant walkers. So, do yourself a favor and do not buy one. If you already have one, discard it. Be proactive, get rid of it before a potentially serious accident happens.
I understand that it is tempting to allow your baby to use an infant walker because of the perception that it provides the child with some safe entertainment while you can tackle other activities, but don’t be trapped on that false sense of security like most parents do. The increased mobility that young children gain while in the infant walker is the real problem, so the best way to avoid this is to use alternative equipment to support your non-walking infant like stationary activity centers. You could also consider a playpen in which the infant is confined to a certain area and can’t have access to dangerous objects or situations.
Disclaimer: The content in this blog is not to be considered medical advice and it is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your primary care provider. If you have specific questions, please contact your physician.