Pediatricians are warning Parents and Carers that baby walkers are safety hazards, even though they are used by babies to gain independence before learning to walk.
The Journal Of Pediatrics published a study that found in the US more than 230,000 babies aged 15 months or younger were treated in hospital due to baby walker injuries. 91%, were injuries to the head or neck and 30 % of injuries were concussions or skull fractures.
Most of the injuries to babies using baby walkers were caused by falling down the stairs or falling out and babies being able to reach hazardous items while using the baby walker such as going into the kitchen and touching hot appliances.
Smith, a Paediatrician advises again using baby walkers " I have commonly heard the words from parents who brought their child to the emergency department after an injury in a baby walker, 'Doctor, I was standing right there, but she moved so fast that I did not have time to stop her.' These are good parents, who were carefully supervising their children and using the baby walker as intended," he said. "Their only error was that they believed the myth that baby walkers are safe to use."
For Parents and Carers who do use baby walkers, it is recommended you remove the wheels so the baby can't "walk" or try alternatives such as stationary activity centres or tummy time where the baby is placed on the stomach which enables them to learn to push themselves up to crawl and then eventually walk.
As per Product Safety Australia, Baby Walkers must comply with Mandatory Standard Performance Requirements and warning signs are a requirement on the Baby Walker.
For Parents and Carers who use Baby Walkers with their child, supervise. Close doors to Kitchen, or areas within the home that can cause a safety issue and add Baby Gates to stairs.
Welch, Ashley "Too Many Children Injured By Baby Walkers, Study fFnds", CBS News, 17 September 2018
Baby Walkers, Product Safety Australia