Walkers can be dangerous… and can hinder healthy development.
Why We Say NO to Walkers
It is simple – walkers are dangerous. And we are about encouraging healthy development, which walkers can hinder. Walkers have gotten safer over the years; many walkers sold in the U.S. now have wheel brakes and a wide base to prevent a fall down the stairs but not all do. And even with new safety standards injuries continue to happen to babies in walkers.
Also, babies in walkers can move fast, faster than parents can react which again has led to babies being hurt. Walkers can also position a child higher where it is easier to grab items off table tops or grab items hanging low. Again, more injuries to babies.
And, there are the developmental issues associated with walkers. Most parents buy a walker thinking it will help their baby walk earlier. The facts don’t back this up. Walkers delay not only motor development but cognitive development as well. Children need to be on the floor learning to move their bodies to explore and manipulate their environments. And, delays caused by these mobility units can last much longer than the actual time the child uses the walker.
When to Use a Play Saucer
As parents we know there are times when we need to put our babies down in a safe place so we can accomplish some tasks. We also want our babies to be able to entertain themselves a bit while we do this. Stationary saucers can accomplish both of these goals. The saucer can’t be moved by the baby and the saucer comes with a variety of manipulatives attached to its tray.
Stationary saucers do come with age and skill requirements. We need to support our parents in following the guidelines set by the manufacturer. Usually babies should not be put into saucers until at least 6 months old when they can sit up on their own, have consistent neck control and their feet can reach the ground.
Time in saucers can put very young babies into a position that they cannot maintain on their own (standing) which can lead to atypical muscle development. This can lead to other issues including delayed development in motor skills. And, babies should never be left in a saucer for any great length of time. Approximately 15-20 minutes at a time is a great guideline to follow.
Our Early Learning newsletter is written by staff in our Early Learning Program.