Baby Walkers: To Buy or Not to Buy?
If I want to buy a walker how can I find a safe one?
Look for the JPMA (Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association) seal on the package. In 1997, in response to numerous reports of injuries and deaths, many manufacturers adopted extra safety measures in their baby walker designs. For example, walkers must be wider than 36 inches so that they cannot go through doorways. Another feature makes the walker brake, or stop, if one or more of the wheels is not on the same level surface as the other wheels, such as at the top of the stairs.
Remember that these standards are voluntary. Injury Prevention journal reported in 2001 that “The manufacturers most likely to comply with the revised voluntary standard are members of the JPMA; however, nearly 40 percent of the new baby walkers sold in the United States are manufactured by firms that do not belong to the JPMA.”
Keep in mind that many children sustain injuries in their walkers even when their parents are present. Pediatrics (September, 2001) cited a study that found “78 percent of the children were being supervised at the time of the injury.” Parents are often lulled into a sense of security when their children are in walkers, explains Clementi. “Caregiver supervision is lower because they are amused by the child’s actions and believe that possible dangers are out of reach.”
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