Walkers..bad for my baby?

Stephaine - posted on 06/17/2010 ( 16 moms have responded )

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So a few weeks ago we got a walker for our 6 month old son. Everyone keeps telling me that I shouldnt put him in one because it will make him bow legged. I also heard the same thing when I was holding my son and letting him stand up, i asked his doctor and he said that it wouldnt make him bow legged and I should continue to do it because it would help strengthen his legs. Any feedback would be helpful and greatly appreciated.

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Angela - posted on 07/17/2010

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Thank you but I'm enjoying it just fine :) and I'm not sure who you think you are judging my enjoyment level ??! or my experience in this field ??!



I apologise if my opening comment offended you personally but I the gadget driven parenting that has taken over from common sense and good practice is an issue close to my heart.



I'm glad you agree with me - walkers and Johnny jumpers are TOYS not developmental aides.



As I have read ALL the posts and several state that they help your baby learn to walk - one mother goes as far to say "how else are they supposed to learn"



Its obvious what I meant by grandparents - although should have just said - millions of children around the world each year!



Yes every child and parent is different and reach milestones at different ages however our anatomy and physiology (of humans in good health) is the same - our legs develop with the same bones, muscles and tendons in them, our spines develop the same, etc



There is screeds of research that clearly point out the issues I am bringing up.

Here are some (the first one I find particularly interesting as many parents believe that such walkers teach a child to walk faster, however, studies suggest that it is not true, and they may actually delay walking by two to three weeks.)



^ Burrows P, Griffiths P (November 2002). "Do baby walkers delay onset of walking in young children?". Br J Community Nurs 7 (11): 581–6. PMID 12447120.



Also this one holds a lot of weight in the medical field.



Effects of baby walkers on motor and mental development in human infants.

Siegel AC, Burton RV.



Department of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Abstract



Because baby walkers enable precocious locomotion in very young, otherwise prelocomotor infants, walker experience might be conceptualized in terms of early enrichment. However, walker devices prevent visual access to the moving limbs by design. Therefore, prelocomotor walker experience may be conceptualized in terms of early deprivation, reminiscent of that created in a classic series of animal experiments on the critical role of visual feedback in developing motor systems.



This study analyzed motor and mental development in 109 human infants, with and without walker experience, between the ages of 6 and 15 months.



Walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls, and they scored lower on Bayley scales of mental and motor development. Significant effects of walker type, frequency, and timing of walker exposure were observed. Considering the injury data along with the developmental data, the authors conclude that the risks of walker use outweigh the benefits.



PMID: 10533994 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]





Dr. Cynthia Chareunsouk – Chiropratic Kinesiologist - states...



ref ... http://rickemmerich.com/blog/baby-walker...



Baby walkers also interfere with postural, biomechanical, and neurological development of babies. Research has shown that babies who utilize walkers establish faulty walking patterns due to neurological development deficiencies. With overuse of walkers, babies sometimes also experience sore leg muscles. A study in 1991 correlated early walkers to have lower grades in school – due to a lack of crawling in their developmental stages.



And some statistics for you 14,000 babies every year are sent to hospital with walker related injuries in the US alone and many of those children were being watched but the walkers can move up to 3 feet per second and parents reaction times were not fast enough to catch them.



And heres some info on injuries...





^ Fazen LE, Felizberto PI (July 1982). "Baby walker injuries". Pediatrics 70 (1): 106–9. PMID 7088607.



^ Kavanagh CA, Banco L (March 1982). "The infant walker. A previously unrecognized health hazard". Am. J. Dis. Child. 136 (3): 205–6. PMID 7064944.



^ Al-Nouri L, Al-Isami S (March 2006). "Baby walker injuries". Ann Trop Paediatr 26 (1): 67–71. doi:10.1179/146532806X90637. PMID 16494707.



^ Emanuelson I (September 2003). "How safe are childcare products, toys and playground equipment? A Swedish analysis of mild brain injuries at home and during leisure time 1998-1999". Inj Control Saf Promot 10 (3): 139–44. doi:10.1076/icsp.10.3.139.14553. PMID 12861912.



^ American Academy of Pediatrics. "Injuries Associated With Infant Walkers" (web reprint). Retrieved 2008-03-23.





You sound like a great mother and I wish everyone I have seen was as careful as you :) but unfortunately thats not life is it.



Don't get me started on johnny jumpers either - as I have seen the injuries of children, who were being watched by their parents, where the spring has come off the frame (a manufacturing fault sure) but a brain damaged child al the same!! and children who have flipped out and broken their necks, or jumped too hard - lost their balance and hit the frame resulting in brain damage also.



I don't make these statements lightly and my child won't be wrapped in cotton wool - but be sure I will be saving my money when it comes to these gadgets !



I guess I have just seen it all, so when an opinion is asked for - you get it - an INFORMED one.



All the best x

Tracie - posted on 07/16/2010

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by the way....our grandparents, and great-grandparents had wooden walkers for their babies....I have pictures.... ;-D

Tracie - posted on 07/16/2010

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Seriously? It's called, "watching your child". If you watch your child...they won't get hurt. When you watch your child you can tell when they are done being in the walker and want out. You don't just leave your baby on the floor and walk away...why would you think that you would leave a baby in a walker and walk away?
you don't use a walker until the child is putting weight on their legs and 'jumping' them. Johnny jump ups are great too...when a baby is ready. You don't put a newborn in any of these...you wait until they are ready....whatever age that is...and every child is ready for different things at different ages. Just like anything else, and all toys, walkers and johnny jump ups are fine.
Sweetie, I have three kids....ages 17, 14, and 7 months. They are all happy and healthy. The older two used walkers, and so does my baby. No problems. My oldest daughter walked at 12 months, and my son walked at 9 months...when they were both ready to do so. My 7 month old daughter is currently doing her best to crawl, but enjoys the different variety of toys we have at her disposal. When she is done with one...she lets us know.
Being an experienced parent I am wondering between the two of us who is really a "poor misguided' person.....
Every parenting style is different just like every child is different....try relaxing...you will enjoy it more...

Angela - posted on 07/16/2010

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You poor miss guided people who think walkers are okay!



There are several reasons they are not allowed in many countries not just accidents.



Yes - they are dangerous because your baby can tip over (even if you are watching), fall down stairs or easily move into areas where they could hurt themselves (eg be burnt by a heater or oven).



Baby walkers don’t help babies learn to walk.



In fact there are many reported cases around the world of babies with hip problems as they are forced into the standing position before they are ready.



There are also many cases of children who used walkers on their tip toes having to have surgery on their calf and achilles tendons because they don't grow properly and are too short and the children cannot put their feet flat when learning to walk unaided.



Please avoid walkers and other gadgets that claim to enhance your child's development! A child does not need them to learn and grow! Our great, great grandparents walked before the invention of shiny plastic saucers!



The safest place for your child is on the FLOOR where they learn to do it all themselves.

Belinda - posted on 07/09/2010

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I think its all good in moderation as long as your not overdoing it. How else is he ment to learn? Trust your instincts you wouldnt have put him in it if you didnt think he was ready!

Dawn - posted on 07/08/2010

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my guess is in order for that to happen you would probably have to keep your baby in it for like 10 hours of the day.. It probably came from the asians because they tend to do things like that thats why they develop slower than other children. They keep there children in walkers play pens and high chairs at all times.No offense intended to anyone...

Hannah - posted on 07/08/2010

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It doesnt make the baby bowlegged... that is the most retarded thing they have ever come up with. I have had my son in a walker since he was 2 1/2 months old (hes 7 now and doesnt look bolegged) He loved it! I seriously hope they do not ban them in the US bcuz i really think thats what started my sons interest in crawling and walking and being so independant.

Fizza - posted on 07/08/2010

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Walkers are not bad itself. Its main purpose is to train a child to walk with support.Basically it depends on the height of walkers and the baby as well.If we adjust on upside and downside points of walker in such a way that baby's legs would not bend then it is a not bad. Only Baby' toe should touch the ground on which he or she becomes able to stand and walk and run in walker. :) Best of luck!

Talitha - posted on 07/08/2010

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I really wanted to get my son a walker but they are illegal in Canada because some people don't know to watch their children while they are in it. I read an aritcle that said that they were working on banning them in the US as well.

Lindsey - posted on 07/08/2010

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i have been putting my son in his walker since he was about 4 months. he loves it! i admit that i put him in it for a really long time, but i have seen no problems with his development of his legs. it actually makes his legs really strong. and we have been standing him up since he was about 2 months, and that also helps. but you should take everyone's advice and decide for yourself. people always told me not to out him in a walker, because it is dangerous but i watch him the whole time he is in it, and it is really fun for him. it has a lot of lights and toys for him to play with, and it also helps with brain development. i hope you have good luck with your baby! :)

Tracie - posted on 06/20/2010

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that's crazy talk! ;-D Our 17 yr old daughter and 14 yr old son had walkers and they aren't bow legged at all! I looked all over for one with our 6 month old daughter, but couldn't find one. When I asked I was told they were dangerous because the little ones could fall down stairs or something....really?! Yeah...it's called 'WATCHING YOUR BABY". I am continually surprised about all the changes with babies and most of it unneccessary.....
walkers are fine! They were fine when we were babies, they were fine when my teens were babies, and when I find one they will be fine for this baby too! ;-D Right now she has a johhnny jump thing which she loves! And we have been putting her in that for months now. As she is already pulling herself to a standing position with things and sits on her own....unsupported.... it's probably been a good thing! Good luck! ;-D

Zequana - posted on 06/19/2010

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My baby had a walker since she was 5 months. She doesn't stay in there for along time but she loves it When we went to the doctor she made my baby stand up and said she had good leg strength and that the walker was ok

Kim - posted on 06/18/2010

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I agree with your doc. Sounds like an old wives tale to me. You should encourage him to stand.

Aneta - posted on 06/18/2010

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So i just bought a walker as well...the pediatritian said its ok to put the baby in there but for not more than 5-10 min a day...Its better for kids to play on the floor, learning to crawl and stand up rather than run throughout the flat :))
regarding standing up, i read in a magazine that its ok to hold them and let them stand up. Thats how they learn to handle weight on their legs.

Darlene - posted on 06/18/2010

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They say the same things about excersaucers. As long as he's not in it for hours at a time, I don't think there's a problem. I didn't think they made them anymore due to brilliant people that don't block off the stairs! Where did you get it?

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