Parents love to provide their babies the option of mobility which allows them to explore and see the world around them and also keeps them entertained for hours on end. Most people would have had experience in a walker when they were a baby too and see no reason why their child should miss out on the exercise and fun!
There’s quite a variety of baby walkers available, some are bulkier than others whilst other models range in extra features such as trays or built-in toys. Deciding on the best baby walker for your child can be quite an important decision as you are going to want a product which is good value for your money, benefits your child and also a major consideration you’ll find is safety!
Controversy and Safety Considerations
Baby walkers have become a somewhat notorious product as for example they have been reported in this study that they are responsible for an estimated 8800 injuries in infants younger than 15 months in the year 1999 and mostly this is due to falls involving stairs and resulting in head injuries.
There’s also the risk of the wheels tripping over wires and the baby being able to reach objects kept on tables and other surfaces, accidentally dropping things like coffee mugs or running into furniture with protruding edges; all dangers with disastrous consequences that present a risk when using baby walkers.
The possibility of the baby walker picking up speed is also a hazard, as a baby can lose control which could potentially result in the walker rolling over. This is bound to happen in large areas with smooth or waxed flooring and therefore certainly worth keeping in mind.
It’s because of reasons like those and the number of injuries occurring that the sale and ownership of baby walkers have been made illegal in Canada. The evidence is showing that baby walkers are not products to be taken lightly and parents should consider whether or not they are responsible enough to supervise and provide a safe space for their child to use one if they do want to purchase one.
Baby Walker Safety
Parents who are thinking of buying a baby walker or who have received one as a gift should have an idea of the safety precautions they can take to reduce the risk of their baby coming to accidental harm. You can find a lot more information and relevant data on the subject within this pediatrics publication.
Supervision at all times is highly recommended for when your baby is using the walker. Don’t let them play in any room on their own or without adults that you trust present to watch over them; just to ensure all potential objects that could cause harm is out of reach and that floor hazards are also removed.
Any baby walker product must comply with government regulatory standards including ASTM F977-96 to prevent the walker from being able to fall down stairs. As long as compliance is met, the walkers are much safer but this does not mean supervision should take a backseat.
Parents should always use a safety gate before any stairs, steps and to block doors to also prevent the baby from navigating into hallways which lead to stairs or other places which are unsafe. Baby gates are really useful and certainly, a must have when it comes to baby walkers, they are easy to come by so it’s a no-brainer and a vital safety precaution.
As is recommended by professionals, a stationary option for helping your child develop is much more preferable as it can’t move, taking away a lot of the risk. There is a huge variety of sit me up seats available on the market as a great alternative for keeping your little one entertained as well as being a place for them to nap, eat and play!
Seated or Sit-to-Stand Baby Walkers?
These are the two main types of baby walkers that you can find and the best walker to choose will be a decision based on your child’s age or capabilities as sit-to-stand walkers are typically designed for babies going on toddlers, who are able to walk fairly well and require some additional balance and support.
On the other hand, a fully seated walker would not suit babies who are already able to stand and walk independently but rather younger babies who are not yet able to hold themselves up properly. There are also convertible models available which really are great value for money, as they can then be used as your child grows instead of you having to keep buying new walkers for them.
What to Look for in a Baby Walker?
With safety a top priority, there are several other key features that vary between the baby walker products that you ought to be concerned with so that you’re getting the best value for your money.
- Toys: Most baby walkers come with toys attached serving as an activity center for your kids. They can feature music, flashing lights and sensory toys which all provide masses of fun and a great experience for your baby and the most satisfaction from your purchase.
- Trays: You may prefer to have a tray which is wide enough for baby to keep their toys and eat their food from. Baby Walkers with trays are extremely handy when it comes to meal time, especially if they are easy to clean
- Compact: Consider whether the walker you are interested in can be folded and put away relatively easily. Having a baby walker that can collapse into a much flatter shape means they can be easily stored in closets and under furniture without taking up too much space.
- Adjustable: It’s beneficial to have a walker where you can adjust the height to suit your baby perfectly. Also, it’s a great value for money option for it to be convertible into a sit-to-stand walker so that the product serves you for much longer.
- Durable: The best baby walker will be damage resistant and also shock resistant to prevent knocks and bumps from affecting the baby. It would be a complete waste of money to find your purchase showing cracks and scratches after a short amount of use.
Our Top Picks
The performance and overall quality of the baby walkers featured here are all judged by those characteristics mentioned above. Some of those, of course, is going to be a matter of your preferences, and so it is up to you to decide on the best baby walker for you.
Kolcraft Tiny Steps 2-In-1 Activity Walker
Kolcraft has provided a safe and fun way for your baby to get started on learning to walk properly with their activity walker. This walker can be converting from sitting to sit-to-stand and so it can be used throughout your baby’s early development which is fantastic in value.
Extra features include the cute toys facing the little pilot of the walker which are not noisy with music and there are no flashing lights. Babies love the toys here because they are made from different textures, colors and make a variety of sounds which really stimulate their senses, help with motor development and ensure they can have fun on the go.
The adjustable seat height is also a fantastic feature giving you the ability to make your baby’s feet can touch the floor properly so that they have control over the walker, preventing it from being able to pick up speed so easily. The non-slip friction pads you can find on the bottom of the walker also do their bit in increasing the safety of the toy.
Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Walker
The Neptune Walker by Baby Einstein is another great baby walker product that has a unique and cute design sporting an undersea theme with friendly characters. There is an alternative park theme model that you can also choose if that’s what you would prefer, no doubt worth checking out!
The sweet sensory toys included with this walker can be removed to expose a tray which is very useful as it gives you the choice of how you want to use the walker at any given time; the baby can have fun around the home at playtime or the toys can be taken off come snack time to prevent any mess where it’s not so easy to wipe down.
The toy station could also be removed and played with without the walker if you so wished, there are also three classical songs that can be played that only further enhance the stimulatory experience for your child.
This walker has extra padding and support for your child, especially if they’re beginners at walking and standing, this toy can really give the extra support to get them used to the use of their leg muscles to move around and support their weight.
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
For a walker that’s great for babies who are becoming a lot more confident with their walking and are more or less ready to walk on their own, but would love a fun toy to help them learn and develop as they go.
This walker has a lot of fun activities including musical piano keys, animal shaped buttons, shapes and numbers and even a toy handset. It’s an all in one mobile toy where the main activity center can also detach and be played with on the floor as well making it a really flexible and therefore great value for money product.
Having all these different sensory toys is great for early learning and creative play allowing your child to associate sounds with different images and characters whilst the shape sorter toy helps their understanding of the tactile and visual differences between basic shapes, it really is a toy that supplements the learning of children from nine months to three years old!
Joovy Spoon Walker
A lot of parents would prefer a walker which has increased functionality and safety over others at the sacrifice of the flashing lights, music, and toys. A good option for those parents would be the minimalistic Joovy Spoon Walker.
A lot of clever design choices have gone into this product to make it as safe as it can be for your baby, with extra wide guards at the bottom to ensure your baby can’t crush their fingers between the tray and any objects they could potentially steer into. The base also provides strength and durability to the product which also keeps it stable to reduce the impact of when your baby inevitably bumps into things.
It may seem less conservative of space than other similar walkers available but this really is a useful safety feature which when used in conjunction with non-slip brake pads, large wheels and reinforced frame the seat does its utmost to comply to all regulations and provide a safe as possible experience for your child.
Just like most similar products the walker can be folded down to be easily stored, you may need a bit more room to store this one but totally worth it for the safety. The tray is also removable and as well as being easy to wipe it is also dishwasher friendly; a convenient feature for busy parents.
Additionally, the seat is padded making it ultra comfortable and supportive and adds a splash of color to the aesthetic. A variety of seat colors are available including blue, black, red and yellow so you can add a bit of you or your child’s own personality to your product choice.
Some Final Words
Even though baby walkers have some controversy behind them, and little evidence that they do actually provide any tangible benefits to the child, many parents still rate walkers as a great toy for their children and have not experienced or had family members experience any accidents when using one.
The risk of using a baby walker is still a matter of fact and so based on evidence Serious Parent would encourage parents not to use them but we don’t think parents should be forced to feel the same way.
It takes a lot of responsibility on the side of the parents and the caregivers to choose the product carefully, ensure it meets government requirements, make sure they are vigilant in watching the child as they use the toy and to remove any risk of the child moving into unsafe locations with baby gates.
We would love to hear what you think about the topic; should baby walkers be altogether banned? Have you or any family members experienced any accidents with a baby walker? Or do you personally like the walkers and think there is no problem? Let us know in the comments below!