Are Walkers Safe?

Q. We received a walker as a gift when our son was born. The friends who gave it to us promise that it “saved them” as there baby got to be seven or eight months old and always wanted to stand or move but was far from walking or even crawling. I have heard that walkers are not safe. Is this true?

A. They are not safe. Millions are sold each year even though well over 100,000 babies are injured each year because of walkers. Fatal injuries are rare, but they are reported at the rate of two or three each year. Babies who are too mobile and not well watched can fall down stairs, and they often do. Walkers are not just dangerous, but developmentally unsound because babies get to places they don’t belong. Surveys have shown that the majority of parents who have bought walkers thought that their children would walk sooner and the opposite has been shown to be the truth. Walkers can delay crawling, walking and learning other transitional motor skills.

The Canadian government has banned walkers and the American Academy of Pediatrics has asked the U.S. government’s Consumer Products Safety Commission to so the same but they have not yet done so.

I strongly suggest returning the walker to the store and exchanging it for baby books or simple, fun wooden toys.