Mommyhood Hacks

The Dangers of Infant Walkers and a Better Alternative to Teaching your Baby to Walk

Your baby taking his/her first step is undoubtedly a proud moment for every mom and dad. As parents we try to do our best in supporting our children to confidently walk. One popular way of doing so is by letting our babies use a walker. These nifty gear are notoriously known to be the “holy grail” of babies learning to walk. Most people believe that infant walkers can make their babies walk early so they buy one for them as soon as their babies turn 6 months (4 months even for some!).

However, this widely held belief that walkers support babies learning process has been debunked.

Dangers of Infant Walkers

Seemingly happy and excited babies in walkers are surely a fun sight. However watching them propel themselves may be a joy for most parents but these are accidents waiting to happen. There is actually a lot of risks associated to walkers that the American Academy of Pediatrics has called a ban on its sale and use due to a number of hazards and accidents it may cause such as:

‼️ Children may fall and roll down the stairs

‼️ Children can reach high places in these walkers and can pull table cloths spilling hot drinks or they can knock down furniture

‼️ Children can be poisoned if they get hold of dangerous chemicals

Not much of a help

Aside from broken bones and dangers of being poisoned, the use of walkers has been proven to be ineffective in helping babies learn how to walk. Children who are made to use walkers are often too young to be in them and are not physically ready to “walk”.

The best way babies can be taught to walk is by exploring and “copying” how it’s done. Since walkers have big trays surrounding the baby, effectively obstructing their view from the waist down, babies are unable to understand how their legs and feet work. Infant walkers actually defeat their purpose.

Newer models but still no good.

Since the call for the ban, updated guidelines on infant walker have been released for manufacturers to follow. This includes addition of brakes and bump pads. Despite this, many walkers do not conform to such guidelines and remain to be hazardous for babies.

A better alternative?

Aside from giving your baby time to learn on his/her own, push walkers are becoming more popular nowadays as an alternative to conventional infant walkers.

Nene and Zerinna

Nene Husseini, a UK-based mom chose a push walker over an infant walker for her baby, Zerinna. This walker allows her baby to have a full view of how her legs work. With infant walkers, on the other hand, moms tend to be complacent because they feel a false sense of security when they see their child wooshing away in a walker. They think their babies are fine in their little space but the risks are plenty. However, with push walkers, moms are “forced” (in a good way) to supervise their children while they learn.

Zerinna is able to support herself with the aid of her push walker at 6 months!

“As a mom, I’d feel excited about seeing a new milestone achieved every day. But walking is something that need not be rushed. I understand that babies have to learn on their own so whenever Zerinna would attempt to stand or take a few steps on her own using her push walker, I’d just support her. There was no pressure. However, I am very patient with her. I think every parent must be one especially if they are trying to teach their children a new skill.” said Nene.

Don’t want to splurge? Do away with any gear!

Any kind of walker is not a necessity. If you don’t want to spend on any kind of walker, then that’s perfectly fine! You can just help your baby by practicing every day or when your baby is up for it.

Even with a push walker, Nene still practices with Zerinna without it. She spends a lot of time training her and it is through their team work that Zerinna can now stand unaided at age 10 months (Zerinna could support herself with the aid of a push walker at age 6 months)! She even took her first few steps in the same month!

Don’t rush!

Don’t worry if your babies are taking their time learning. Each child has a learning curve and just because one baby is able to walk early does not mean yours must, too. It is through a friendly, playful, and supportive environment that babies learn best.

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