Walkers are devices designed to help babies learn how to walk and usually involve an apparatus with wheeled frames with suspended seats. More often than not we see parents all around the world swooning over little toddlers who are trying to walk in their baby walkers.
Nevertheless, did you know that baby walkers are completely banned in Canada? Our today’s article is going to help you understand the common myths that revolve around baby walkers and if they are a necessity for your child.
Walking is one of the first milestones your baby reaches usually between 8-18 months. A lot of kids start crawling and pulling themselves up with support before they start walking. To walk, your baby needs to have many skills, including balance, coordination, standing up and being able to support their body weight from one leg to the other. Your baby learns new skills by relying on the skills he/she has learnt previously. Most babies go through the following phases before learning how to walk:
The aforementioned list clearly shows how important it is for the baby to have a constant contact with the floor in order to learn and practice these activities. Using a baby walker can actually impede your child’s learning outcome due to the lack of time he/she gets after being restricted on the walker.
Baby walkers especially when left unattended or unsupervised can be a very dangerous thing. According to a study in the USA, it was revealed how children in baby walkers had a lot of serious accidents that eventually had to be treated in the emergency department. These accidents weren’t limited to babies falling down off the stairs but also included incidents of grabbing, pulling and getting stuck in things that would otherwise be out of their reach.
Baby walkers prevent your child from carrying any weight on their hips and legs which in turn can lead to long term changes to child’s walking pattern and can sometimes cause long term hip problems. Baby walkers end up strengthening the toe muscles (the wrong muscles for walking) and can severely impact the balance and joint development of the child with time.
The Bayley Assessment exam that looks at a child’s motor skill development, language development and mental skill development showed how kids who used a walker scored relatively lower marks as compared to kids who didn’t use a walker.
As busted earlier, this is untrue. It is believed that for every 24 hours that your baby spends in a walker, you are pushing your baby’s ability to learn how to walk further 3 days and ability to stand further 4 days.