Baby Walkers


There have been many child injuries attributed to baby walkers. Baby walkers are not safe: they are often unstable and can tip; they can also collapse easily. In addition, a child’s tiny fingers can get jammed between the frame of the walker and furniture; and with the assistance of a walker, a child can also reach harmful items that he normally could not reach.


With a baby walker, a child also becomes more mobile than would normally be expected for his age. For example, a child in a walker could travel surprisingly quickly through an open doorway leading to the basement. The door might have been left open for only a moment by a parent, visitor, or sibling. Not only might the child arrive at the open doorway very quickly, but because a child is likely to make the walker top heavy, the child could fall head first down the stairs. Serious, even fatal, head injuries are a common result of this kind of fall.



An injury occurred in 1990 when a child in a walker moved close to the counter and pulled on the cord of an electric frying pan. The oil in the pan spilled on the child, burning 25% of the child’s body.



Some people believe that walkers will help a child learn to walk. There is no scientific proof to support this assumption. Most experts agree that, purely as a part of normal development, a child will start to walk when she is ready.


If you do decide to use a baby walker, extreme care must be taken with its use. In addition to increasing the danger of falls, walkers bring the child closer to other dangers such as electrical appliance cords, plants, and other potential hazards. You must be even more vigilant about hazards if your child is using a walker.


Because of their increasing unpopularity with child care experts – including the Canadian Medical Association, which recommends that they not be used – walkers are difficult to find in stores, but they are often handed down or purchased in garage sales. If you remain unconvinced and despite all the evidence, you still want your child to use a walker, here are some important safety tips for you to follow.


·        You should not use a walker for a child who cannot sit up without assistance.


·        You should never leave a child unsupervised in a walker; the baby walker should not be used as a “baby sitter.”


·        With increased mobility she has in a walker, your child can get into danger much faster than you can imagine. Using the walker, she can move at a rate of one meter per second.


·        When a child is sitting in a walker, he has reaching abilities he normally would not have.


·        A walker should only be used on a floor that is level and clear of objects that could upset it.


·        Make sure that the walker will not fit easily through door openings.


·        The seat should be equipped with a seat belt that is easy to use.


·        The walker should have sturdy construction. Check the walker frequently to be sure that parts are not starting to loosen or break.


·        Sometimes older siblings will make a sport of pushing the baby around the house in the walker. Walkers are not go-carts; this practice should be prohibited.



Copyright 1995 Safety Health Publishing Inc.


Martin Lesperance is a fire fighter/paramedic and is the author of the best selling book “Kids for Keeps: Preventing Injuries to Children”. Martin delivers keynote presentations dealing with injury prevention. His talks are funny, but still have a strong underlying message. Visit his website at