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Baby walkers are the most controversial baby items yet. They have been recommended and opposed with the same strength leaving parents, mostly first-time parents, confused. Despite the confusion, baby walkers remain very popular among parents. Let’s talk about what to expect when using a baby walker for the first time: its pros and cons. But before we do, let’s define a baby walker.
What is a Baby Walker? Are Baby Walkers Good for Babies?
A baby walker is a wheeled device used by babies who can’t walk to scutter themselves around. They are made of a strong plastic base and a hanging fabric seat with two holes—the baby’s little legs through the holes allowing him to sit with his fit touching the floor.
The baby walker’s frame gives the baby support to hold on to as they stand independently. It also allows the tot to move around on his feet, thus helping them learn how to walk.
Benefits of Using a Baby Walker
Contrary to many people’s believes, baby walkers are not for busy parents who need hands free time to do other chores. Baby walkers are very helpful to the kids. Here are some of the advantages
1. Inspiring and Engaging
Most baby walkers come with an assortment of toys attached to the tray to keep the baby busy and entertained. These toys act as an excellent distraction to a fussy baby. They will keep the baby engaged long enough for you to take those cookies out of the oven.
Further, these toys are designed to provide visual and stimulate mental growth.
2. Encourages the Baby to Walk
A baby walker offers the support the baby needs to stand on its own. This gives them the courage to take the first steps.
See, children are innate imitators. Once he can stand on his own, with support of course, the next thing will be to try to walk just like mommy and daddy. Voila! Baby’s first steps.
3. Promote Mobility
At 8-12 months, babies are very curious and are keen to explore their surroundings. At this stage, they want to pull on furniture, grasp objects, and pick up their favorite toy. A walker will provide the baby with the mobility they require to get to their target without assistance.
Dangers of Using a Baby Walker
1. The Baby Might Resist the Walker.
Most babies are willing and excited to enter into a walker for the first time, but others are a little adamant. The good news is, you can work with your baby to make him/her feel comfortable using the baby walker.
To eliminate the fear, you can sit on the floor with the baby on the lap and pull the baby walker near you for him to see and touch it. Alternatively, you can press the music button on the baby walker to entertain the baby.
2. The Baby Could Be Dependent on The Walker for Support.
One of the drawbacks of using a baby walker is the possibility of your baby becoming dependent. He/ she won’t have the confidence to move without the baby walker for fear of falling. This means you have to spend more time training the baby to build confidence to walk without a baby walker. Sigh!
- There Is A Possibility Your Baby Could Get Injured.
There is a possibility of the baby walker running over the baby’s little feet if they are not well placed. Also, the baby’s feet could get entangled on some parts of the walker. If the walker continues to move while the feet are entangled, it could lead to bruises, scratches, or worse, broken bones.
The other cause of injury could be the wheels getting stuck, which makes the walker to stop moving. If the baby pushes it to make it move, it could tip over and hurt the baby.
The worst possible scenario would be caused by using the baby walker near stairs or a raised surface. Babies cruise fast in a baby walker and could easily tumble down the stairs causing severe injuries.
4. Expect Some Opposition
Many doctors oppose the use of baby walkers. The opposition is mainly due to the risks that it poses to the baby. Brace yourself for endless questions and criticisms from friends and family.
5. The Baby May Develop Spinal and Other Disorders.
Prolonged use of the baby walker from an early stage by a kid who is not old enough to stand can lead to spinal curvature. Further, toe walking while on the baby walker can cause calf tightness and eventually deformation of the foot and core weakness. This deformation can only be treated when detected early. At its extreme, the baby will require a surgery to correct it.
Baby Walker Safety ✔
Taking precautions when using a baby walker cannot be overemphasized. Here are some of the strategies recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP).
- There should always be an adult supervisor while the baby is on the walker.
- Use barriers such as stair gates.
- Choose walker designs that prevent injuries, e.g., one with brakes and broader than the average 36 inches doorway.
- Don’t let the baby use a baby walker for more than 15 minutes a day.
Wrapping It Up
Knowledge, like air, is essential to life, and no one should be denied it. You are now fully aware of what to expect when using a baby walker for the first time—the ball now on your court.