When you have young children it’s really hard to do the simple essentials. Like take a quick shower, answer the door or make a much-needed cup of coffee.
There are certain baby products that are advertised to help. One of them is the baby walker. The long-held belief goes that a baby walker will help your little one develop whilst letting you go “hands-free” for a few welcome moments.
Walkers are still a popular product but they are actually illegal in other countries! And added to that, they can not only cause accidents but hamper your child’s development.
20,000 Babies Injured A Year!
As all parents know, younger children can injure themselves just trying to sit or stand up. I sometimes look at parenting my young children as a “Damage Limitation Exercise”. They really don’t need any extra help!
Yet back in 2001, The American Academy of Padiatrics estimated that 20,000 children a year were injured by walkers. Most of the injuries sustained were from children being able to reach hazardous objects like hot drinks, sharp instruments like scissors and chemicals.
Several deaths were recorded where the poor children rolled down stairs and steps and fatally injured their heads.
Still For Sale in the USA!
Following their report, the AAP recommended that baby walkers be banned. But amazingly they are still for sale! It’s so unbelievable I need to write it again. Baby Walkers are not banned in the USA.
A number of product recalls did take place. They also made recommendations that all baby walkers be wider than doorways. The thinking must be to stop them rolling down stairs.
But how effective is this really? Many injuries are caused by babies being able to roll around quickly and reach dangerous objects – not just stairs.
Baby Walkers Banned in Canada
It might surprise many parents to learn that baby walkers have been banned in Canada since 2004. It is a ban that they take really seriously! Retailers are hit with a $100,000 and can face up to 6 months in jail!
Australia & EU Also Warn Of Dangers
Baby walkers are used by parents worldwide. So it’s no surprise that babies are also being injured worldwide, too!
In Australia, research shows that 1 in 3 children who use baby walkers will be injured at some time. In Europe, a five-year study showed that 90% of injuries were to the head. Of these head injuries, 31% caused a brain injury, and 35% a skull fracture or concussion!
My Experience With A Baby Walker
Over the holiday season, I visited my niece whose mother (my brother’s wife…) had bought a baby roller.
Like many, she had not known of the dangers of walkers. In my brief stay, I kept a close eye on my niece. I was amazed at the speed she could roll across the wooden floor.
She occasionally banged into things like chairs, tables, and people. One of them was me! I was barefoot at the time so my big toe took a direct hit. My niece, on the other hand, thought it was great fun 🙁
100,000 searches a month!
According to Google.com, the term “baby walkers” gets 100,000 searches every month. However, the term “Are baby walkers safe?” gets just 140!
Head over to America’s biggest retailer, Amazon.com, and you’ll find thousands of Baby walkers for sale. On the front page of that search, over half are the same type as the one my niece had.
Any Safe Alternatives?
Whilst they didn’t become banned, some savvy toy manufacturers made improvements to the walker design. The result is the sci-fi sounding “Exersaucer”.
They have lights, music, and lots of developmental toys and activities for little ones. And they won’t roll them into trouble.
What Can Be Done?
As you can see from the statistics, baby walkers should have no place in our homes. Let alone anywhere close to our children!
I believe we should petition the government to prohibit the sale of dangerous baby walkers. It seems unbelievable that they have been banned in Canada for over 12 years! Surely, there is enough evidence for them to do the same here in America.
Failing that, education is our best defense. Tell all the parents you know about the dangers and by all means please share this article to your social media groups!