Baby walker safety

Baby walkers provide mobility for infants who are not yet able to walk. However, because they pose a high risk for injury to your child, as well as possibly delaying normal development, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend their use.1

If you allow your baby to use a walker, the AAP recommends using only those labeled "ASTM F977-96," which meet international safety standards.1 The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also recommends these models because they are either made too wide to fit through a doorway or are equipped with a gripping mechanism that stops the walker at the edge of a step. These features help prevent children from falling down stairs, the most common cause of baby walker injuries.2

Also, consider the following:2

  • X-frame walkers should have locking devices to prevent small fingers from becoming trapped in the spaces between the collapsing mechanism. All spring coils should have protective covers.
  • To prevent tipping, all types of walkers should have at least 6 wheels.

In addition to equipment standards, keep your child safe while using a baby walker by:

  • Closely supervising your child at all times.
  • Blocking off stairs and doorways.
  • Avoiding floor surfaces that may make the walker unstable and tip over, such as an uneven floor or edges of carpeting.
  • Being aware of new areas that your child may explore. Clear away any hazards.
  • Keeping your child away from stoves, space heaters, and fireplaces.

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2004). Keeping your child safe. In SP Shevlov, RE Hannemann, eds., Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 4th ed., pp. 423–470. New York: Bantam.
  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission (2002). CPSC Gets New, Safer Baby Walkers on the Market. CPSC Document No. 5086. Available online: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/5086.html.

Last Updated: February 26, 2009

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