Today there are many devices for the physical development of a baby under one year. One of them is the baby walker. There is an opinion that baby walkers are no good and even harmful for babies, and that they are only an advantage for lazy parents. Is this true?
Baby walker is a device that allows a baby not yet able to walk, to move without the aid of parental hands. It is a frame on wheels with a special «saddle» for the baby.
Do baby walkers help my baby learn to walk?
Actually, no. Babies who use walkers learn to walk about a month later than babies who don’t. With a walker, your baby begins to move around though he is not physically ready for walking. This causes delayed muscle control. In a walker a baby can’t see his legs moving and don’t get visual information about the lower body. And we know that a baby learns by watching.
Some more disadvantages of using a baby walker.
- Walkers discourage babies from learning to walk on their own.
- Walkers can be very dangerous if you have stairs at your house. There is a high risk of injury.
- Using a baby walker your child has a risk of being hurt by previously out-of-reach objects.
- In a walker, a baby can squeeze the crotch.
- Your baby’s gait becomes springy.
- Using walkers may provoke flat feet
You mustn’t put your baby in a baby walker if:
- The child can’t sit straight.
- The child is seven months old or younger.
- Is the child has any skin problems in places where the body touches the walker.
- The baby has rickets.
- The baby has hypertonia or hypotonia of the legs
- The baby has disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
- The baby doesn’t like to be in the go-cart.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using walkers!
In Canada, the sale of baby walkers is banned.
Baby walkers: how to use safely?
If you still want to use a walker, you must at least follow some rules to make using walkers a more safe experience for your kid. Never use a walker if you baby can’t sit or is under seven months! For the first time use a walker for three minutes, then you can gradually increase the time adding two minutes a day. Forty minutes is the limit, otherwise the child can have problems with the back. Use a walker no more than twice a day. Always control your baby in a walker, don’t leave the baby alone. Properly adjust the height of the walker.
Walkers and further development of a child.
Such problems do not occur immediately after using a baby walker. Babies must crawl a lot. Why? Because motion is life and children are a good example. Motion helps to oxygenate the brain, children who move little, do not develop intellectually. Our brain is arranged very interestingly. If one brain area develops, all nearby areas develop as well. Therefore, it is important for a baby not only to receive enough visual, auditory and tactile information, but also to move much.
It is known that children, who crawled little or didn’t crawl at all, have problems with learning to read. These children are usually slow readers, they often confuse letters. When preschoolers have problems with reading and counting no one blames walkers, though they may be the reason. Without a walker, a child has to crawl or to walk, to learn to overcome obstacles. Baby walkers can’t teach your child to achieve the goal. Placing your baby in a walker, you limit further development of your child, not allowing him to fully master the space, to try, to fail and to experience. The child develops in motion, he needs to learn to control the body. This is impossible if we interfere in the normal development, even with good intentions.
If you still wonder: «When to buy my baby a walker?», my answer is «Never».