Baby Walkers: To Buy or Not to Buy?
Why are walkers so dangerous?
“Walkers allow children, many of whom are not yet crawling or walking, to be mobile,” explains Bridget Clementi, Injury Prevention Manager at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. In other words, the walker lets your carefree baby explore a world in which she does not yet fully appreciate the dangers. Once mobile, she might be able to touch a hot oven, reach housecleaners, pull at electricity cords, or even plunge down stairs.
Many parents think walkers help baby learn how to walk, but this isn’t true. Despite the name “walker,” many reputable sources, including the AAP, confirm that “Walkers do not help a child learn to walk; indeed, they can delay normal motor and mental development.”
In 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found 3,331 incidents of children receiving treatment in the emergency room for injuries from walkers. “The majority of the injuries with walkers are to the head from falls,” says Angela Mickalide, the director of Education and Outreach for the Home Safety Council. Other injuries stem from burns, poisonings, and pinched toes or fingers. “Many parents might be surprised to know that walkers are associated with drowning,” continues Mickalide. “The child can get through an open patio door and then fall into the family pool. It can happen in a matter of seconds.”
Indeed, the AAP reports that a child in a walker “can move more than three feet in one second.” Even the most attentive parent may find it difficult to prevent a child from quickly getting into dangerous situations.
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