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:
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.
- 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.
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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