• Should I buy a baby walker?

    Should you get your tot a baby walker? Read up on the pros and cons when buying these walking implements.
    by Anna Santos-Villar .
  • Several studies show that baby walkers do not help infants learn how to walk and can even delay this milestone. Walkers can strengthen lower leg muscles, but not the muscles in the upper legs and hips that babies use mostly in walking.

    While a walker may help baby move quicker around the house, it makes them more prone to injuries even with adult supervision. Dangers include falling down stairs, tipping over and getting scrunched by the foldable frame. Babies can also get burns and bruises when they reach to touch hot stoves and other unsafe items, or when they accidentally bump into a table and tip over items on top of it.

    Still considering buying one?
    • Choose a model with a wide wheelbase that won’t fit into doorways.
    • Look for an automatic braking mechanism, like a friction strip made of rubberized material at the bottom to help stop the walker in case the wheels drop off at the edge of a step.
    • Select a compact design. Small parts should not easily break off, screws should be secured tight, and there should be no sharp points or edges.
    • Ensure baby’s feet can touch the ground at the lowest setting.
    • Get one with an optional locking device.
    • Only use walkers in a safe and flat area, and supervise baby at all times.

    Safer alternatives to baby walkers recommended by experts:
    Exersaucers or standing activity centers that look like walkers but without the wheels allow babies to bounce, rock, spin, and sit upright without the need to move across the floor.

    Push and pull toys in the shape of wagons, cars, lawn mowers, etc., which have bars that baby can push and are sturdy enough not to tip over.

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