Children between 6 and 12 months old have a powerful urge to move across the floor, and when they are finally placed in baby walkers, most of them squeal with delight and are happily entertained for hours.
We want our children to be happy, and often, their delight is a good measure of what they need. However, sometimes it can lead us astray, and short-term delight can lead to unfortunate long-term consequences.
Children can’t think of the future, and as parents, part of our role is to do that for them. With each new choice, we have to consider what it teaches our babies, how this will affect them, and what are the implications over the long haul.
Although the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of baby walkers, they are still commonly used today. But while they seem to offer some benefits, baby walkers can be dangerous, especially when a child is left unsupervised.
It is also argued that they may cause serious developmental side effects, and it is a parent’s job to consider future consequences of the objects a baby uses, to ensure he develops properly.
Benefits of Baby Walkers
Children between the ages of 6 and 12 months may desire self-transportation, and baby walkers can aid a child in staying upright and enable her to maneuver around the room unassisted.
Secondly, a child in a walker can be entertained for many hours, allowing a parent time to attend to household tasks or a quick bath. It is also believed that those baby walkers may also help strengthen the lower legs of the baby.
It is a fact that babies are attracted to anything that makes funny sounds, or colorful things, and most baby walkers are usually equipped with simple games and toys that can help the baby focus its attention on such interesting things.
Active babies who enjoy discovering a tremendous amount of new things can be kept under control in the presence of a baby walker, who will be calmer and more preoccupied with its surrounding environment.
Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying a Baby Walker?
It is a known fact that baby walkers can help the baby walk and have fun, which is an important phenomenon. And when a baby starts walking, its leg muscles develop in a certain way.
However, it is known that the baby uses its body mass and strength to rise and try to walk, but when aided by a walker, the wrong muscles tend to strengthen.
Experts believed that crawling and scooting is good for the baby, but in the event that a baby uses a walker too soon, the hips and upper legs may not develop correctly.
As such, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that baby walkers should be avoided in the early stages of life.
Can it be Appropriate to Use a Baby Walker at Some Point?
Although experts recommend not to use baby walkers to help the baby make its first steps, baby walkers are not completely avoidable, as they can offer the baby the support it needs, at least until the right balance is achieved.
After the baby starts walking properly, there is no danger in allowing him/her to play using the baby walker, since the muscles have had developed so far, so the baby’s correct development will not be significantly affected.
There are some things all parents should be careful about, like ensuring that the baby should not be able to reach any dangerous objects, hot surfaces, stairs or slippery surfaces. This means that, during the baby’s walk, someone should be constantly supervising it.
Effects of Using a Baby Walker
According to the Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, a baby needs to spend time on the ground to learn how to crawl, roll, sit and walk, and because of this physical need, baby walkers may cause delays in a child’s ability to walk, crawl and balance.
In addition, some school of thought has warned that a baby walker may cause spinal development complications, such as asymmetry of the spine or even an imbalance of the muscles.
Safety Measures For Using a Baby Walker
If parents do decide to let their child use a baby walker, then, such parents should not continue to use a walker when a baby can sit up or walk on his own. They should also ensure that the child should only use the walker for short periods of time.
Types of Baby Walkers
A traditional baby walker has a frame molded of plastic or metal with a seat that suspends from the center, with wheels located at the base, that provide a quick way for the baby to travel.
Other styles, like the mobile activity centers, are commonly rectangular in shape and include toy bars and snack trays, and can also come in the shapes of familiar objects, such as cars.
Alternatives to Baby Walkers
Instead of using a baby walker, an expert suggests an Exersaucer.
Exersaucer allows a child to be upright while bouncing and spinning, but it does not have wheels for mobility. Exersaucers are generally considered safe for a child’s development.
In conclusion, baby walkers should be used carefully and avoided in the first months of the baby’s life. It is highly important to supervise a child in a baby walker and remove all dangerous objects from its sight.