Baby walkers used to be a hit, because children could play with them for several hours a day, and parents had a time and space to do some home chores. Today the opinion about the walkers is significantly different and some countries even made their import and use illegal.
It showed that the baby walkers which are supposed to help the infants with their first few steps, are completely worthless, because the child learns to walk without it as well anyway. But they can be even dangerous, because they are often the cause of injury. To such conclusion came the international test of consumer associations.
Walking is a complicated process, which starts with walking alongside the furniture, steps to the sides and so on. The child has to learn how to work with the center of the gravity and how to keep balance, in period when the foot arch is developing. Baby walker causes that the child will thanks to the support develop wrong movement patterns for walking, which can later cause complications for example in form of back pain.
The baby walker can also slow down the psychomotor skills development of the child. Studies showed by the magazine of american pediatricians „Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics” showed that baby walkers slow down the child’s motor skills development.
Doctors observed more than hundred children, from which one half spent a lot of time in baby walkers. It showed that children that used baby walkers had slower mental and physical development that children, which had to walk on their own feet. Children do not sit in the baby walker, they hang in there in unnatural position and at the same time they bounce against the floor only with their toes. Which can cause the child to walk on toes, because their hips and spine are in an incorrect position, and they suffer from it. Rehabilitation would be needed in such case, which would be unnecessary, if the child is otherwise healthy and it can learn to walk naturally by itself without the need of baby walker.
Author: Mgr. Iva Bílková, FYZIOklinika physiotherapy Ltd., Prague, Czech Republic
Source: Clinical experience from private practice in physiotherapeutic field, FYZIOklinika