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Making Ideal baby walker (questionnaire)

(35 Posts)
uniquedesigns Tue 03-Sep-13 23:10:37

Hi,
I am a product designer who is currently making a baby walker, as part of my research I must ask mothers to fill in a questionnaire to help to make a safe child friendly baby walker and most importantly tick the boxes of what the parents want in a baby walker. It would be a great help if you take some of your time to fill this questionnaire.
Thank you smile

1. Have you considered buying a baby walker?

2. If no, what made you consider not buying it?

3. At what age did your child start crawling?

4. At what age did he/she use tables as support to stand up?

5. When did you put your child in a sitting walker?

6. Do you think it helped the child to develop walking skills?

7. When did you use push toys to aid the process of walking?

8. What are you willing to spend on a baby walker?

9. Is there any special features you would like to have in a baby walker?

10. What is the child?s favorite toy?

11. Did you come across any dangerous situations when the infant used the baby walker?

12. Would you have preferred a baby walker that is flat-packed?

13. Would you prefer the walker to have a unisex theme?

14. If you had another child would you consider using the same baby walker again?

minipie Wed 04-Sep-13 14:21:47

Not keen on questionnaires but here are my thoughts

we got one for dd at about 7 months as she became obsessed with "walking" holding our hands and my back was giving out. she instantly loved it and it's probably her favourite thing.

it has a unisex theme which I far prefer. it plays tunes (not too loud) and has a driver style setup so there is a gear lever, indicators etc which make noises when pressed.

I wish it had loops to attach other toys to though, especially teethers, as when she's teething she leans forward to chew the steering wheel and it looks really uncomfortable.

the main unsafe thing is that she is mobile and higher up in it so can reach stuff she can't reach from the floor eg hot oven, wine rack, plug sockets aargh. no way around that really.

flat packed yes preferable so it can be stored for next child.

hth

uniquedesigns Wed 04-Sep-13 23:34:41

Thank you very much, this will be a great help to me smile

Ragusa Sat 14-Sep-13 23:49:49

Hi, haven't got time to answer all qs but no, I never considered buying a walker as they are the cause of some serious accidents and they don't have any role in aiding walking development. Sorry, prob not that helpful grin but I think in yr product design you woukd really need to consider the fact that the NHS actively discourages parents from using them...

AnythingNotEverything Sat 14-Sep-13 23:52:03

Like the PP, it's important you understand that the medical profession have NEVER recommended walkers. Many parents feel they are unnecessary at best, and dangerous at their worst.

I would never buy one.

MortifiedAdams Sat 14-Sep-13 23:54:12

I bought one not to help with walking but as somewhere for dd to stand/be more upright, when she couldnt manage it herself. She barely took two steps in it due to the layout of our lounge.

I got a second hand one as I knew I wouldnt use it that long.

I would want - unisex, removable tray, no noisy stuff.

All the ones I saw have a horrible plasticy material over the seat which bags and catches and traps food. In an ideal world, it would have a seat like a Bumboo - rubber and soft woth nowhere for food to hide. Of course, this would probably prevent folding but we kept ours up.anyways.

Same here. Never had one, on purpose. My DCs cruised at 6m and 9m. They walked alone at 10 and 11m which was a bloody nightmaregrin

hettienne Sat 14-Sep-13 23:55:42

They are unsafe and don't help (can be detrimental) to babies' development.

LondonJax Sat 14-Sep-13 23:58:23

Same as previous posters I'm afraid. I wouldn't buy one for our DS as I couldn't see the point. Plus my sister had a very nasty experience with one - her DS was in his in the garden, moving at a fair pace, and the wheel caught something. He went head first out of it and the walker landed on top of him.

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 15-Sep-13 00:05:08

I hate the idea of them - they are big and bulky (always lived in tiny houses!) and quite apart from the obvious risks from things like fire and stairs, they give the baby a level of mobility that they're not mature enough to deal with, so for example it allows them to move at a running speed before they can run, it allows them to reach high up things before they can actually walk or pull up. I just tend to think that they develop at the speed they are meant to develop and it's not right to artificially accelerate that process. It doesn't help them learn to walk (they will walk when they are ready!) and there is a learning process both for babies and parents about things like taking stuff out of their reach, them balancing, avoiding falls etc and with running I think it's important for them to be able to work out the speed etc for themselves.

I did have a jumperoo but I felt this was different because it stayed in one place. Similarly, we had a wooden push along trolley/walker thing which DS liked, but I don't feel that interfered with his natural walking progress.

DS crawled at 8 months and started pulling up a week later. He didn't walk independently until he was 16 months, but I think it was confidence, because he took 3 steps without noticing at 10 months. He is still the same at nearly 5 - convinced he is unable to do something until something makes him try it and then he realises that he could have done it all along.

I really don't see how anything can "aid the process of walking" - it's a developmental state, physical development and mental development for the child too. And I don't think it's helpful to interfere in this. Who knows why different children walk at different ages? Does it matter? We don't know! So let's not mess around with things that might be important. There are certainly no real benefits of being able to walk early, because they are still too small to be trusted to walk most places anyway.

On the unisex question yes, god, please avoid the pink/blue tirade. There are millions more colours in the universe, please use all of them!

YoniBottsBumgina Sun 15-Sep-13 00:09:57

Sorry forgot to add - I liked the jumperoo because DS liked being upright and it was a good place to put him down if I wanted to do something or needed a break, and the crucial point - I knew he couldn't move! I do like the things which are similar to walkers but the baby doesn't move.

Must add also, my mum has fond memories of me "whizzing about" in a baby walker, and I have fallen arches now which have caused knee and hip problems, minor currently, but I'm only 25, so who knows. Fallen arches are thought to be related to baby walker use - obviously I don't know if this is actually the link for me, but it has put me off them as well as all of the other things.

greenbananas Wed 18-Sep-13 21:23:31

I agree with previous posters - there is no point in hurrying our babies to walk, and interfering with their natural rates of development might be harmful in some way.

Still, here goes:

1. Have you considered buying a baby walker?
No, never.

2. If no, what made you consider not buying it?
I think they are unsafe. ROSPA recommend that baby walkers are not used (for the reasons mentioned by previous posters - they help babies move too fast too soon, they help babies reach things they should not reach, and they are bad for hip and back develpment because babies are sitting upright on their crotches when they should be supporting their own weight in more natural ways).

3. At what age did your child start crawling?
7 months

4. At what age did he/she use tables as support to stand up?
8 months

5. When did you put your child in a sitting walker?
Never.

6. Do you think it helped the child to develop walking skills?
Not applicable. But I don't think that it would - because it would interfere with process of learning to balance and support their own weight naturally.

7. When did you use push toys to aid the process of walking?
We had an old wooden Triang brick trolley that DS liked to climb on and sit in from about 8 months. He stood and pushed it along from the age of about 11 months, sort of like cruising around the furniture except that it moved with him.

8. What are you willing to spend on a baby walker?
Nothing at all, and I would not use one if I was given it for free.

9. Is there any special features you would like to have in a baby walker?
Not applicable.

10. What is the child?s favorite toy?
At the age you are talking about, DS's favourite toy was probably a small second-hand piano keyboard that he was allowed to bash as hard as he liked.

11. Did you come across any dangerous situations when the infant used the baby walker?
I have seen children in baby walkers crash into furniture or toys on the floor and tip the baby walker over. Very dangerous!

12. Would you have preferred a baby walker that is flat-packed?
Not applicable.

13. Would you prefer the walker to have a unisex theme?
I think all toys should be unisex as far as possible. I don't like the pink and blue thing.

14. If you had another child would you consider using the same baby walker again?
I will never consider using a baby walker. Hope this helps grin

Why are you choosing to make a baby walker? Could you design another toy instead?

uniquedesigns Wed 25-Sep-13 23:56:10

I am actually trying to make the walker safer to use rather than having parents more worried about having to put their child into a walker. Some parents think it interferes with the development but it can also be thought as an entertainment factor for the child as children enjoy being in walkers very much and it can have educational materials incorporated so that its somehow teaching the child something as well.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 08:47:43

But they have already invented safer walkers which are too wide for stairs and have safety mechanisms against tipping even if the walker goes over a bump. Plus most people are educated about the development issues now and would make sure their child's feet were supported better or not use the walker for long periods.

The problem for me is inherent - they give the baby more mobility than they have the development to cope with. You can't change this unless you take the wheels off, which in fact has already been invented!

Why would a parent be worried about "having to" put their child in a walker? You would never be in a position where you had to - you either don't buy one in the first place if you're worried about them, or use different toys, if e.g. you are at a group.

I think it's a dead end, sorry.

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 26-Sep-13 08:48:59

(Try netmums)

uniquedesigns Thu 26-Sep-13 22:29:42

After seeing that most of the responses where negative due to safety issues I thought that making the walker safer than it usually is could convince parents who never liked the idea of walkers to buy them to see their child content and happy rather than the infant being frustrated about not crawling fast enough to reach a particular area.
I am aware that parents are educated about the development issues and safety issues but as you mentioned that safer walkers have been developed and many safety problems have been solved but the parents still choose not to use one even though its not as dangerous as the ones in the past turned out to be. In fact many people who choose to use walkers rarely come across any dangerous situations if the child is attended after properly as a child should never be left unattended.

uniquedesigns Thu 26-Sep-13 22:33:14

Thanks for the response and the help smile. I really hope I could come up with something that will change the idea about this particular market. Keep the responses coming positive and negative grin

Ziggyzoom Thu 26-Sep-13 22:35:45

Surely the feelings of frustration at not being able to crawl fast enough is what encourages the baby to pull themselves up and develop the ability to walk. confused

colleysmill Thu 26-Sep-13 22:39:20

Honestly?

If you are looking for advice on baby walkers my advice would be to contact the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy - they should be able to provide you with information on the concerns around baby walkers (not to be confused with specialist walkers for children with physical difficulties which are regularly prescribed if appropriate)

Why don't you focus on stand up walkers instead? Far more parents would consider these. I had one when I was little which was like a soft toy with a handle so you could sit on it and wheel along with your feet or push it using the handle and I loved it. I'd never consider a sit in walker for my child but have been looking for something similar to what I had and there's no much choice on the market.

Sunnysummer Thu 26-Sep-13 22:48:32

Agree with the physiotherapy society idea (or even chat to an actual physio or occupational therapist). Baby walkers may be made safer in terms of tipping, for example, but they are still actively unhelpful for development - DS's occupational therapist said that babies in walkers take their first unassisted steps 6 weeks later on average.

DuelingFanjo Thu 26-Sep-13 22:50:23

1. Have you considered buying a baby walker? Nope

2. If no, what made you consider not buying it? Heard they are dangerous and preferred to parent in a way that didn't include leaving my child rattling about trapped in a plastic cage.

3. At what age did your child start crawling? About eight months

4. At what age did he/she use tables as support to stand up? About the same time

5. When did you put your child in a sitting walker? No idea what a sitting walker is

6. Do you think it helped the child to develop walking skills? N/a

7. When did you use push toys to aid the process of walking? Tried them around ten months but he just kept falling flat on his face.

8. What are you willing to spend on a baby walker? Nothing

9. Is there any special features you would like to have in a baby walker? No

10. What is the child?s favorite toy? Now? A fire engine.

11. Did you come across any dangerous situations when the infant used the baby walker?
no
12. Would you have preferred a baby walker that is flat-packed? No

13. Would you prefer the walker to have a unisex theme? Yes

14. If you had another child would you consider using the same baby walker again? N/a

PlotTwist Thu 26-Sep-13 22:51:35

I used walkers for all four of mine. Three were walking independantly by 13 months (one at 9 months) and the other was a little behind but I don't believe this was either hampered nor aided by the walker.

1. Have you considered buying a baby walker?
Yes

2. If no, what made you consider not buying it?
The price of some of them, I'm on a low income.

3. At what age did your child start crawling?
The earliest was commando crawling by 5 months, the others, right about where they should have been (youngest is now 10, it's been a while)

4. At what age did he/she use tables as support to stand up?
between 8 and 10 months

5. When did you put your child in a sitting walker?
About 5 months old

6. Do you think it helped the child to develop walking skills?
No. I find them a good temporary distraction when you want them off the floor (for vaccumming or cooking for instance) yet they are frustrated sat in a highchair or babyseat.

7. When did you use push toys to aid the process of walking?
From about 8 - 10 months

8. What are you willing to spend on a baby walker?
About £30

9. Is there any special features you would like to have in a baby walker?
things to press and hold. And that this be on a removeable tray for cleaning.

10. What is the child?s favorite toy?
It's been a long while, I don't remember.

11. Did you come across any dangerous situations when the infant used the baby walker?
They were always supervised.

12. Would you have preferred a baby walker that is flat-packed?
Don't they usually come flat-packed?

13. Would you prefer the walker to have a unisex theme?
Yes, although I would put a boy in a pink one anyway, a baby does not care about gender stereotypes

14. If you had another child would you consider using the same baby walker again?
I would use a baby walker, which one would depend on the price

Also, I would have liked a greater range of heights on them, so that a long legged child could still use one. My granddaughter grew out of hers well before she was walking, and she walked at 12 months. Some kids just love being upright, I don't see it as being much different from a door bouncer.

bringbackopalfruits Thu 26-Sep-13 22:52:29

I'm with the others I'm afraid, in that I think walkers aren't necessary and are z safety risk. They are banned in Canada, and if the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists feel they should be banned here, that should be enough to make you rethink, surely?
I'm an OT, and can understand just why they do not have a positive effect on a child's development. I don't even like four bouncers, Jumperoos etc but then I'm very strict grin.

There is no way of making a sit in walker that's good for the child, sorry.

RandomMess Thu 26-Sep-13 22:53:07

1. Have you considered buying a baby walker?
Did for my eldest then realised how unsafe they were so absolutely not for the younger 3

2. If no, what made you consider not buying it?
I think they are dangerous

3. At what age did your child start crawling?
All different ages between 7 and 12 months

4. At what age did he/she use tables as support to stand up?
11 to 15 months

5. When did you put your child in a sitting walker?
Can't remember

6. Do you think it helped the child to develop walking skills?
No

7. When did you use push toys to aid the process of walking?
Yes

8. What are you willing to spend on a baby walker?
£0

9. Is there any special features you would like to have in a baby walker?

10. What is the child?s favorite toy?
Treasure basket

11. Did you come across any dangerous situations when the infant used the baby walker?
Going too fast on hard floors, being pushed and whip lash injuries potential caused, reaching unsafe items

12. Would you have preferred a baby walker that is flat-packed?

13. Would you prefer the walker to have a unisex theme?

14. If you had another child would you consider using the same baby walker again?

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