New parents are often overwhelmed by how active babies can become within a few months. From just lying in bed and fussing about every once in a while, a baby can quickly transform to a crawling ball of cuteness. Of course, once the baby is mobile, caring becomes more challenging.
A lot of parents opt for baby walkers to contain their children and also in hopes that the baby walkers will assist in the learning process. However, are baby walkers really that beneficial? Let us look at some of the pros and cons of baby walkers.
Pro: Engaging and Stimulating
Many of the baby walkers come with built in toys or attractions for the baby. These attractions engage the baby at all times and keeps him/her busy. With the baby distracted and busy you can do your tasks without worrying about an irritated infant.
Having colorful and engaging toys has been proven to stimulate mental growth and create cognitive patterns for the child. Many walkers are customizable so you can regularly switch or replace toys to keep your baby occupied.
Well-constructed walkers keep your kid content and happy as all of their toys are within reach and visual stimulation.
Pro: Encourages Babies to Walk
Just as some infants take time to utter their first words, some will take time to take their first steps. For babies that seem uninterested in walking upright or at least making attempts for it, baby walkers can be helpful. By placing the infant in a walking pose, the baby may be encouraged to try walking.
Of course, keeping in mind the baby’s safety and health first, always motivate the baby to walk on flat and comfortable surfaces. Massaging the baby after a practice walk is also essential to make sure the baby is comfortable and does not relate walking to any discomfort or pain.
There are other similar products that can be used to promote the habit of walking in children. Push toys or wagons are a great example.
Con: Safety Hazards
Even with their popularity, a lot of organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend parents to not buy baby walkers. This is because the number of incidents and accidents are higher than many of the pros for baby walkers.
Baby walkers can be extremely dangerous around stairs or slanted surfaces. Since the walkers are designed to be swift and easy to move, accidents with babies falling down the stairs or rolling down inclined surfaces have occurred.
In fact, in 2004, the Canadian government banned the sale and advertisement of baby walkers in Canada.
Con: Easy Access to Dangerous Stuff
Since baby walkers tend to keep the infant in an upright position with enough support, many of the dangerous materials on our desks and tables are accessible. Babies can get their hands on to wires, knives, forks, medicines, and other previously inaccessible materials.
Cooking, light containers, hot surfaces and rough edges are a similar concern.
Avoiding the Cons: Safety
To avoid the cons, there have been many new improvements and safety standards for baby walkers in the recent years. However, it ultimately falls onto the parents to be vigilant about their child.
To avoid fall related accidents, parents are often advised to use baby gates in their houses. Even when the baby in a walker, parents have to be attentive and make sure the baby cannot go out of a certain area.
When selecting baby gates, choose gates that are strong and sturdy enough to contain the momentum of a moving baby walker.
Similarly do not use baby walkers near sources of water like swimming pools etc.
Avoiding the Cons: Accessibility
Just like you baby proof the apartment it is important to baby proof yourself as well. Make sure there is no dangerous stuff lying around the house even on shelves or tables. Keep the babies away from kitchen, garages, and similar rooms.
Again, it is best to contain the baby within the nursery and install baby gates during your baby proofing phase. If you are keen on using baby walkers, ensure that all safety measures are taken and select the right baby walker and the right baby gates for your house and your newborn.
It does not mean you should not have a baby walker for your baby as it has some cons. All you need to do is be careful so that you take full advantage and avoid the disadvantages. By the way, baby jumper is another useful baby equipment you may take advantage of as well. It is a great thing to keep your baby active and happy.