When a baby gets to be four or five months old, parents start to look for ways to keep them stimulated and help with muscle coordination. Some parents consider purchasing a baby walker in order to entertain their baby.
A baby walker consists of a seat mounted on a wheeled frame. Often, a tray sits in front of the seat and contains built-in toys or space for snacks. Babies sit in the seat with their feet touching the floor and scoot around the house using their feet.
On the surface, baby walkers seem like a good way to amuse babies while teaching them how to walk. However, research shows that walkers do not teach babies to walk or make them walk faster than they would have without a walker. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly discourages the use of walkers because of the risk of serious injuries.
Following are six reasons to avoid baby walkers:
- Babies can fall down the stairs in a walker if someone forgets to close a baby safety gate or the door at the top of the stairs.
- Babies can tip over in the walker when crossing uneven surfaces such as a threshold between two rooms.
- Babies can burn themselves on hot oven doors, heaters, radiators, or fireplaces while in a walker. They may also reach up and pull hot coffee, soup, or cooking oil off the stove or table.
- Babies can pinch their fingers in a cabinet door or drawer while in a walker.
- Babies can drown in a pool or bathtub while in a walker.
- Babies can ingest poison because a walker makes it easier to reach dangerous substances such as household cleaners and medication.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more children are injured in baby walkers than any other nursery product. Often, these accidents happen when an adult is watching. Because babies can move very quickly in a walker—three feet in one second—parents cannot move quickly enough to prevent an accident.
David Todd, a Austin child injury attorney at the Todd Law Firm, urges parents to consider the risks associated with baby walkers before deciding to purchase one. However, even if you take every precaution necessary, you need to be aware that not everyone will be as vigilant. Some caregivers—such as those at a child care facility or church—believe that walkers are wonderful for children, and may place them in one to play, leading to serious injuries.
If your child is injured in a serious accident and you need legal help, call David at 512-472-7799 for a free personal injury case review.