Responsible parents must make an informed decision whether or not they want to purchase an infant walker for their baby based on facts and personal preference. This controversial issue began to surface several years ago when some accidents involving babies were attributed to the improper use of baby walkers. As with many issues reported by the media, the complete facts surrounding the incidents were sparse and based on emotion. Even though some agencies warned against the irresponsible use of certain types of baby walkers, others found no problems with them when used properly. Manufacturers voluntarily responded to the demands for stricter safety standards for all infant walker models by researching the problems and making the necessary changes.
Most infant walkers are now designed with a circular frame with wheels that encloses the baby securely inside. The baby sits in the seat of the walker, which usually is surrounded by some type of table that holds toys and other objects. These mobile devices for babies must be a certain width that prevents them from going through a standard-sized doorway. Some type of grips on the wheels must be standard equipment in order to stop the walker at the edge of steps or stairs. The newer models also come equipped with an automatic braking system that prevents the walker from tipping over. Parents can relax and attend to household chores knowing the baby is safe and secure in the walker.
When purchasing a walker, pay close attention to safety warning signs or labels. Avoid buying a used one unless it includes a label stating the safety standards. The walker should glide easily when the baby pushes his feet on the floor thus making the distance from the floor to the infant’s seat important. Walkers that do not allow the baby’s feet to touch the floor can put too much pressure on the baby’s groin area causing discomfort and possibly injury. Ensure the perfect fit for the baby before making the purchase.
There are several valid reasons for buying a walker for a baby. Even though walkers were not designed to teach a child to walk, they do allow mobility and help provide entertainment for short-attention span babies. Many come with toys, mobiles and other items that appeal to babies permanently attached to the tray on the front and sometimes sides of the walker. Placing new items temporarily on the walker tray and then replacing them with different ones helps hold the baby’s interest. Using suction cups to adhere them to the tray saves having to retrieve items cast off onto the floor.
Parents should be vigilant when purchasing items for a baby’s comfort and developmental needs. The walker can provide many hours of safe use for a baby when certain commonsense guidelines are in place. Responsible parents should not leave a baby unattended in the walker. One room that has been childproofed, with closed doors and a flat surface provides the ideal environment for allowing a baby to wander around in a walker and explore his surroundings. Babies six months or older can enjoy the freedom derived from being able to spend a limited amount of time each day in a walker. Walkers provide a baby with mobility that encourages safe exploration of his world and prevents frustration from confinement in a playpen.