Most parents with a newborn or a toddler are skeptical about whether their baby requires a walker or not? If he/she does require a walker, what would be the right age for it? Now that you are noticing rapid growth signs in your infant, you would want to see his very first steps. Quickly walking their infants is vital for the parents and the life of the baby too as it informs of their independence. For helping the baby along the journey, you can encourage him/her by bringing a walker. However, would it be the right thing to do? If so what would be the right age and time to get your baby his/her first walker?
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From what age you Must Let the Baby Let use Baby Walker?
While no appropriate age is there for a baby for using walker, the development, size, and strength of the baby should be considered while making a decision. Walkers are generally designed for babies between 4 to 16 months of age. Besides this, the baby should hold their head steadily and be able to keep his/her feet on the floor while keeping in the baby walker, for using it.
There is no certain age limit for kids to be on the walker. The recommended age by doctors is around 6 to 8 months. At this age, the majority of the kids become ready to stay upright with psychological and physical support. A lot of kids, but not all. All cases are different from each other.
Always have a close watch on your beloved kid, and evaluate his/her physical health. When the child is good at or at least can do certain things, you can safely purchase a walker while putting your little fidget.
- Can your kid crawl easily?
- Does he/she sit without getting any support, doesn’t fall behind or by the side?
- Tries standing upon his/her own
- Always remains curious and actively perceives the world
- Is older than 6 months
For How Long Can You Use Walker?
Let’s assume that you’ve decided to have a walker for your child. Mothers joyfully take kids out of closets or purchase in a shop while begin using actively. The baby would be able to run in it for hours.
For avoiding harming the spine, you need to follow a few simple tips suggested by the orthopedists:
- You can teach the child about using a walker in the daytime when he/she has lots of energy.
- In the beginning, the kid should use the walker for around 2 to 3 minutes daily.
- When the kid masters the walker while learning about moving, running fast, and turning, use it for around 40 minutes daily in total (for example 8 5 minutes sets, or two 20 minutes sets).
- Make sure to not surpass these time limits to avoid harming the spine of the baby.
It’s better to Avoid Baby Walkers for Infants
According to experts of the American Academy of Pediatrics, walkers can ultimately eliminate the baby’s desire of walking. Besides these, there are various other reasons for thinking twice before you use a walker. These are:
Risks of falling from stairs: Many infant walkers are considered dangerous when you’ve got stairs in the house. It is stated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), most walker-associated injuries occur when the baby walker is towards the staircase edge and it falls.
Baby can get off balance: Infants can lose balance while sliding on the floors in an infant walker and taking fall. The AAP states that a child moves at a distance of around three feet per second in a walker. Moving at such high speeds can become overwhelming for the baby and results in poor balance.
The baby’s head is highly vulnerable to fall: With the loss of balance in the walker, it is the head taking the fall’s impact. According to a study it was found that 82% of baby walker falls result in head injury to the baby. The infant’s head is delicate because of their developing brain and skull bones. Any type of grievous injury results in a long-lasting mental effect on the life of a baby.
Baby walker accidents can occur even with the presence of elders: Parents can’t do much in an untoward incident as things can quickly happen without any reaction time. Not only baby walkers are risky but they can also intervene with their normal development.
Can Baby Walkers Help in the Development of a Baby?
Unlike the renowned belief, the baby walkers can neither help in the baby’s physical development and nor would they make the walk of the baby better. An infant can stand up and begin cruising (walking with support) after their legs become ready, regardless of whether they’re using walkers or not.
A study conducted on 109 infants published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics showed that the infants using walkers crawled, sat, and walker later compared to the ones who didn’t. It documents that baby walkers might delay physical growth by making the babies use their leg muscles differently.
Also, with the walker, the baby’s floor time is minimized. It causes miss on practice as they don’t do repetitive movements required for them for reaching their walking milestones. While being in walker infants use toes. It activates and tightens the kid’s leg area muscles and also intervenes with walk development. The habit also remains when they’re not using the walker, and they often wish to use toes. It also impacts walking practice.
The natural process of crawling, standing, rolling over, and walking teaches babies to balance themselves. When letting the baby use walkers, the position of the baby results in him/her leaning forward from the hip. The child doesn’t need to balance himself/herself in the walker. Whether the baby tips forward or side, the walker prevents the baby from falling. Here, the kid will have to learn to balance while keeping afresh.
Also, babies sit while pulling themselves while learning to balance. The baby doesn’t balance in the walker while delaying the learning of the vital skill. Being in walkers would also mean less time on knees and hands in a pre-crawling or crawling position. It is vital to grow weight bearing with both shoulders and pelvis.
Some Safety Concerns about Using Baby Walkers
Baby Walkers are designed for offering mobility to kids who are learning to walk but they can significantly increase the risk of injuries. Many pediatrics academies also recommend avoiding using baby walkers for kids.
Babies on Walker Can:
- Trip easily and fall
- Reach unsafe and inaccessible places
- Roll down on stairs
Many studies also claim that baby walkers don’t aid much in walking. They can eliminate the desire of walking for babies and they’ll often use the walker instead of walking. Thus, there is an alternative or a solution that can be used. It is possible to use an activity center or walker. Such devices have got seats for bouncing and rotating rather than using wheels. Such walkers are a great fit for the baby when you don’t wish to be hurt while you’re thinking of walking.
Some Precautions While Making the Child Use Walker
It is highly recommended that you address baby walker safety issues before the kid actively uses one:
- You need to make sure that the walker is usable on an even and flat surface only.
- Keep the walker and babies away from water bodies and staircases of any type.
- Make sure to be around or have responsible adults on watch when the kid is on the walker.
While parents think of walkers as a seamless and enriching experience for the kids, Dr. Siegel thinks of these as methods of deprivation for kids. He said “as infants learn through exploring the surrounding environment, they often drop things, reach after them, crawl or roll on the floor. However, while an infant seated in a walker can motor towards things, would be difficult for him/her to get those things. If the baby drops an object, he/she won’t be able to pick it up. And when the babies use a walker after beginning to crawl, it deprives them of the ability to explore their environment, and it considerably affects their cognitive development.
There are some solutions or alternatives that can be used as well. You can use an activity center or a stationary walker. These devices have seats for rotating and bouncing and don’t use wheels. These are ideal for the baby as they’re a safer option and help your baby on the journey of walking.
Basic Science Behind Baby Walking
Most babies pass a few milestones while they’re learning walking:
- Rolling on floors
- Creeping, scooting, and crawling
- Pulling themselves to stand
- Moving around stationary objects or furniture
It means that babies have to spend quite a lot of time on the floor while practicing and learning all these activities.
To help the walking development of your baby it’s best to spend a considerable amount of time on the floor. It is a safe space for the baby for learning to sit, roll and pull themselves for standing. Also, you can place the kid close to soft furniture for helping them pulling-up. When your infant is moving around, you can block a safe area for helping them in moving and playing. You can use a stationary activity center or a high-quality playpen. If you’re still skeptical about the safety and usefulness of the baby walker, you can consult a good practitioner for the same.