Many parents use baby walkers to encourage their babies' mobility. However, recent research reveals that walkers in fact delay and impede babies' mental and physical development.
As I am not allowed to refer with links to other sites outside of ebay, I would strongly recommend to do an internet search yourself, where you will find a multitude of scientific sites explaining the reasons why you should opt for alternatives for your baby's mobility development and avoid walkers. In summary, the main reasons, as revealed by research, are:
- Newer-style walkers have large trays that prevent infants from seeing their moving feet.
- Walkers of all sorts (new style, with trays, and old style, without trays) prevent infants from exploring and grabbing at things around them, which is critical to their early mental development.
- Research from the State University in New York, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in 1999, showed that babies who used walkers scored 12% lower on both physical and mental development scores than babies who never used them. Research results were that on average children who did not use walkers could sit up at 5.39 months, crawl at 5.84 months and walk at 10.82 months. Babies with the see feet walkers, could sit up at 5.99 months, crawl at 6.23 months and walk at 10.70 months. Those babies that were in walkers and could not see their feet could sit up at 6.73 months, crawl at 6.68 months and walk at 11.66 months.
- Walkers give parents the false impression that the baby is safer in one of them, than left free to crawl on the floor. The truth is that walkers effectively give babies the mobility of a toddler at 5 months - abilities that neither the baby has the development for nor the parents are prepared for. Think about it, which is easier: to grab your child if it starts crawling towards the staircase, the TV set or your hot cofee, or to plunge after it while it darts towards danger at 3 feet a second?!
- The baby tends to falsely believe that its world is flat: while rolling with its walker, it does not understand the concept of uneven surfaces, steps and obstacles, because the walker cannot be operated on such surfaces. However, the baby must learn that the world is definitely not a flat place to move about!
- The baby using a walker is taught that it is weightless: harnessed in the safety of the walker, the baby gets the surprise of its life when, suddenly out of the walker, it finds (very painfully so) itself sprawled against the hard floor, where nothing is there to support it!
- Many parents claim that walkers save them time and energy. This may be partially true. Yet again, being with your baby and learning along with it the entire world is such a gratifying experience you will have only one chance to live through! If you have to invest time and energy somewhere, what more proper to do it on your own child?
As a safer alternative to walkers, experts suggest to use exersaucers instead (see my other guide on exersaucers).
Closing this guide, I do understand that people selling walkers are not very happy with this guide and will be posting negative votes - no matter how many negative votes this guide gets from walker sellers, I will keep this guide up to help as many parents I can make an informed decision.