Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,128
Registered: ‎07-29-2014

Important alert re: baby walkers

wish the word would get out more effectively for this and other children's products



Infant Walkers Still Injuring Thousands of Babies


infant walker


MONDAY, Sept. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) --


Despite decades of warnings about the hazards of baby walkers, thousands of toddlers still end up in hospital emergency rooms with walker-related injuries, new research shows.


The study reported that more than 230,000 children younger than 15 months old were treated in emergency rooms between 1990 and 2014. More than 10,000 of those youngsters ended up being admitted to the hospital.


"Baby walkers remain a serious and preventable source of injury to young children and should not be used," said senior study author Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.


"Baby walkers give quick mobility -- up to 4 feet per second -- to young children before they are developmentally ready," he said, stressing, "there are still too many serious injuries occurring related to this product."


Infant walkers are made for use in young children who can't yet walk. Most injuries occur when a baby in a walker falls down stairs. Walkers also allow children access to things they might not otherwise be able to reach, such as an oven door or toxic household substances, the researchers said.


Injuries related to walkers include head injuries, such as skull fractures and concussions, burns, poisoning and drowning, the study team noted.


Stationary activity centers were introduced in 1994. These devices hold baby in a similar upright position, but don't have wheels. Instead, they have different activities within the baby's reach.


In 1997, a voluntary safety standard required the base of baby walkers to be wider than a standard 36-inch doorway, or to have a device that automatically engages a brake if one of the wheels drops over the edge of a step, the researchers said. Canada banned baby walkers in 2004.


In 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued additional safety standards. These standards made it easier for the CPSC to stop noncomplying imported walkers from entering the marketplace. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban in the United States but, so far, the devices are still legal.


The latest study had both good news and bad news. The researchers found that between 1990 and 2003 baby walker injuries went down by 84.5 percent. The number of injuries from falling down stairs dropped by 91 percent.


During the four years after the 2010 standards were implemented, annual injuries dropped by nearly 23 percent compared to the four years before.


But of the children injured, 91 percent had a head or neck injury. Nearly three-quarters were hurt after falling down the stairs.


Smith said parents still underestimate the safety risk these devices pose.


"Warning labels and educational campaigns have not been shown to be effective strategies for reducing baby walker-related injuries. Many families still use baby walkers, despite being aware of their potential dangers," he said.


"Many parents believe baby walkers offer their children entertainment, promote walking, and provide a baby activity while parents are doing something else," Smith said. He added that these products do not promote walking. In fact, they may delay mental and motor development, he said.


But Smith isn't blaming parents for their baby's injuries. "These are good parents who were carefully supervising their children and using the baby walker as intended. Their only error was that they believed the myth that baby walkers are safe to use."


Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., said he wasn't surprised by the findings.


"No matter what gates you have or how securely you shut a door, kids still find a way to get around them," said Richel, who wasn't involved with the study.


"I don't advocate using movable walkers, but if parents can find a safe place for one -- a sunken living room or a finished basement -- then I don't have a problem with them," he explained. But Richel said stationary activity centers are preferable and can be good for a child's development.


The study was published online Sept. 17 in the journal Pediatrics.


More information:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on what you need to know about baby walkers.

"People don't usually like to admit that luck (including timing) is a part of their good fortune."
Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,211
Registered: ‎07-27-2015

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

Thanks for sharing @feline groovy passed this along to a couple of new moms so they will do some research before buying!!!

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,318
Registered: ‎05-15-2016

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

I remember the warnings coming out in the 90s. Not only are they unsafe, they can impact development. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,991
Registered: ‎04-28-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

[ Edited ]

How about a safe baby treadmill and/or stationary  toddler bicycle.  Made safe and age appropriate. 


Well, just thinking about an alternative.


I do think that if parents and/or sitters/etc. sit there and keep an eye on children, there would be less accidents.  Watching youngsters 'walk around' in their baby walkers is fun.  But, one has to supervise 100 percent.  No walking into another room, etc., etc.  Caring for babies and youngsters is a big, big job.  Can't just walk away and leave them alone, even for a minute.  (Unless they are alone in a safe play pen.  And that's for only a minute.) 

Well, I'm one of those people who worry when it comes to babies/toddlers/etc.

'More or less', 'Right or wrong', 'In general', and 'Just thinking out loud ' (as usual).
Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,582
Registered: ‎10-25-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

All theee of my children used baby walkers back in the 70's.  Not one of them was injured or had delayed development.  They all walked before their 1st birthday.  The walker kept them from going up the stairs.


The warnings came out soon after my children outgrew the walkers.  After that those jump seats that looked like walkers, but had no wheels were popular.  I thought walkers made with wheels were no longer manufactured. I guess not because the warnings are out again.


Children were hurt getting stuck in doorways to basements and other stairways.  The walker either tumbled over and down the stairs, or the walker got stuck and was child crawled out and fell head first down the stairs.


Almost everything can be dangerous for a small child.  The best defense is to keep your eyes on them.  They are fast and nimble.  Watch those adult recliner chairs too.  Babies crawl under the footrest and get under the chair.  They get hurt when the person seated  tries to sit upright and the baby is caught and crushed underneath.



Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,376
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

"Most injuries come from falling down stairs"



Sounds more like stupid parenting than dangerous walkers.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,589
Registered: ‎06-10-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers



Yes, I just heard it on our local news a few minutes ago.  Most of those injuries were from falling down the steps in the walker.  That does make one wonder? 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,186
Registered: ‎03-21-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

My son never had a walker.  I had heard about the risks of them. And my pediatrician was against them.  Children will walk when they want to walk. I encouraged him to crawl as long as he could.  He jut started walking so gradually, I didn't even notice.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,991
Registered: ‎04-28-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

'All in all', babies/toddlers/young children have to be supervised, especially where there are stairs and balconies. 

Babies can crawl or toddle toward stairs and tumble down in a split second.   Some can crawl over gates and tumble down.

Better to always keep an eye on babies/toddlers/young children. 

And, yes, keep them away from those chair recliners and rocking chairs, too.


'More or less', 'Right or wrong', 'In general', and 'Just thinking out loud ' (as usual).
Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,360
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Important alert re: baby walkers

@hopi  Was coming on to say the same thing.    Watch your babies!!