The baby walker has come under attack from many pediatricians and child care specialists. Because walkers allow babies to become mobile, they also increase the risk of injury. Should you purchase a walker, and if so, what safety precautions should you look for? What other alternatives are available for you to purchase in the place of a walker?
Baby Walker Statistics
There's no doubt about it. Walkers can be potentially dangerous. In fact, according to the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, nearly ninety-six percent of walker accidents involve children who have fallen down stairs. Many of these accidents occurred with an adult nearby! However, walkers have not been pulled off the market, and parents continue to buy them.
Babies who use walkers are more at risk of injury simply because they are more mobile, and they do not understand the possibility of imminent danger. A baby may easily roll down a staircase. A baby can also maneuver himself over to an object, grab hold of that object, and pull it down on top of himself.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been hard at work developing new safety standards to reduce the risk of children's injuries when using a baby walker. If you are in the market for a baby walker, you need to look for the following standards.
- Certification-A walker that meets or exceeds the safety standards set up by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers will have been issued a certification.
- Width of walker-A safety certified walker should be too wide to fit through a standard doorway.
- Gripping mechanism-A safety certified walker should have grippers installed which serve to stop the walker from completing a fall if one wheel rolls over a step.
There are alternatives to baby walkers, however. Today, there are various types of stationery walkers, or saucers, which will still give baby plenty of entertainment. Many of these saucers will rock back and forth, but they do not have wheels. They also typically have swivel seats that baby can use to turn herself completely around. The newer models have several toys attached to the circular tray, and baby can swivel around from one toy to the other, while still remaining in a stationery spot on the floor.
Purchasing a Walker or Saucer
If you live in a one-story home, and you still want to purchase a baby walker for your child, you need to avoid buying a used walker. Many of these older walkers will not pass the safety standards of today, and therefore, they pose a greater risk of injury to your child.
If you are interested in purchasing a saucer, such as Evenflo's exersaucer, instead, you will probably want to comparison shop for the best deals. Be sure you find a saucer that rocks back and forth. You also want to purchase a saucer with a swivel seat and several attached toys. If you can find one that has a removable, washable seat cover, that's even better! Whatever model you choose to buy for your baby, use common sense and always keep your child's safety in mind.