Why do health visitors say baby walkers are bad and to avoid them?

(44 Posts)
Reenypip Mon 12-Dec-11 01:23:44

Why do health visitors say baby walkers are bad and to avoid them?
Is it because of their development and causes them not to walk properly and future problems?

All my friends have them. I haven't bought one for reason being advice from my health visitor not too.

OP’s posts: |
Flisspaps Mon 12-Dec-11 01:31:29

It's not so much that they cause future problems as they don't encourage the child to stand (in a walker they're still sitting to a degree with under-bum support) so the leg muscles aren't doing the work to support the child. They don't help them to walk any quicker. There's also a chance they can tip.

Push along walkers are fine though.

FizzyMakeFeelNice Mon 12-Dec-11 01:46:39

I heard something like 8 children a day end up in hospital because of accidents caused by walkers, and there is evidence that they don't actually help children learn to walk any faster, in fact children who don't use them actually walk slightly earlier.

It is actually illegal to sell them in some countries, such as Canada.

piprobincomesbobbobbobbinalong Mon 12-Dec-11 02:20:58

They make young babies mobile - way before they have the skills to understand and control their mobility. So they will crash into things, tip down steps etc.

Alicious Mon 12-Dec-11 04:45:02

I think that it is now illegal to sell them in many countries now due to accidents on stairs as well as potentially causing problems with walking as the baby just uses his toes and not the whole foot.

Even the walkers with little rubber 'stoppers' which are supposed to stop the walker from rolling if the front wheels go over a step are no use if the baby is moving too fast.

I had one for DS1 (4 now) and found it to be a waste of space-he didn't like it much.

Firsttimer7259 Mon 12-Dec-11 11:27:32

For clarity and just in case this is about those saucer type walkers where you put your child in a harness. One prob is not actually bearing their weight the other is they cant see their feet.
The other type of walker, the ones toddles push just before walking independently are fab

CuppaTeaJanice Mon 12-Dec-11 11:32:45

They encourage toe walking, and, if the wheels are working efficiently, can travel at speeds up to 17mph iirc.

festi Mon 12-Dec-11 11:33:05

they alter the natural alignment of spine, hips, legs and feet.

Bartimaeus Mon 12-Dec-11 11:44:05

<crosses walker off list of things to buy>

Thanks everyone grin

MeghanMc Mon 12-Dec-11 11:47:36

It all depends on your believe. My friend's son loves his walker and can spend easily an hour to two in his walker wondering around the house. I seems to remember using walker will delay your child from learning to walk 'properly' until they are about 1.5 years to 2 years old. Saying that, she has a 8 years old daughter as well, so she is happy to let her son scoot about in his walker while she gets some housework/chores done around the house. Now the boy is 22 months and there is no stopping him from walking/running/climbing.

We bought one for our wee one and she just sat in it. She loves playing the electric toy on it, but not really into walking in it. So it's a waste of money for us (and expensive too!). Saying that, she loves her Fisher price jumperoo and she happily bounced away when she was between 5 months to 9 months. The jumperoo definitely strenghtened her legs.

I suppose it varies from baby to baby. If you are not fussy about 2nd hand, you can try renting one from your local toy library (the council does toy library to lend out toys) or just buy a 2nd hand from ebay.

I hope you find this useful smile.

festi Mon 12-Dec-11 12:34:44

an hour or 2 in a walker shock

hazeyjane Mon 12-Dec-11 14:15:33

Ds's physio said they are also not good for hip alignment, as well as the other negatives mentioned on here.

5318hoho8 Mon 12-Dec-11 15:18:58

shock an hour or two in a walker

[echoes Festi]

AlpinePony Mon 12-Dec-11 15:35:53

I'd heard it was due to them going down stairs.

But really, what type of almighty fucknut puts them upstairs and of course it's a moot point for flat-dwellers.

We had one, my son walked at a normal age (13 months).

NotJustForClassic Mon 12-Dec-11 15:43:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Dec-11 15:57:25

i discussed this at length with our physio, who was completely unable to come up with any actual reason. grin they have similar issues with the door frame bouncer things.

dd1 and ds1 both used walkers (ds1 was born in canada - i had no idea at all it was illegal here and am now completely curious how i managed to buy one and use it <baffled>) and they both walked at the average/ early point (14 mos and 11 mos respectively) ds1 was obsessed with the door jumper as well. grin

dd2 has cerebral palsy, and the walker thing came up because she couldn't walk independently. or sit. or stand, or whatever. and the nhs have a variety of different walker type affairs/ gait trainers that are available. (most rely on arms rather than crotch to hold you up, but by no means all)

so we had a chat about walkers and jumpers. and she did the whole aghast thing. and then came back a couple of weeks later to ask if she could borrow a few of our things to try with another patient. as long as the child has their feet flat on the floor and isn't dangling and tiptoeing...

all things in moderation. if you intend to suspend your child by his crotch for hours every day poised above stairs, then i willingly admire the nhs attempt to dissuade you (actually i don't, because the whole nanny state thing sticks in my craw). if you want to use one for an hour or so and your child enjoys it, and you employ the usual health and safety safeguards within the home (including remembering the child can now reach much higher lol!!!) then fill your boots.

dd2 now walks independently btw. grin cp, walkers and all. grin

WhoWhoWhoWho Mon 12-Dec-11 16:12:57

I have very large skin grafts on my left arm and thigh, I will have these huge scars for the rest of my life and I was in a baby walker when I had my accident.

I never bought a walker for my DS as I saw no developmental gain from having one, or any other benfits from him having one either. DS had a push along walker and was walking at 10 months (not being a smuggy smug mum, his developmental milestones where very spiky due to his autism but physically he didn't lag behind).

I think a lot of the accident risks, e.g. walker going down stairs or into kitchens could be easily avoided by the use of safety gates on doorways. Not rocket science but apparently it is to some as the high accident statistics show.

WhoWhoWhoWho Mon 12-Dec-11 16:15:11

Bartimaeus - cross almost everything off the list. grin There is bound to be a thread on here somewhere entitled - 'useless baby shit you bought that wasn't worth buying'.

tabulahrasa Mon 12-Dec-11 16:36:56

Overuse can cause spine and hip alignment problems, they don't help walking and poor supervision/using them in unsuitable places can cause accidents.

Personally, I think the same sort of things can be true of lots of stuff...I used them as somewhere to stick a baby where they are upright and can see everything and entertain themselves a bit by trying to move about. As long as they're only one of the places your baby spends time, you're not at the top of the stairs and you're with them, I don't really see the issue.

namechangerbat Mon 12-Dec-11 16:41:16

I know some one who puts her baby wedged in it with blankets and pillows to support him as his head is still wobbly and puts him infront of the TV for hours. hmm

Hiked them judgey pants up as high as I could that day.

madwomanintheattic Mon 12-Dec-11 18:26:28

ah, see we had to do that with dd2. grin but she was about 18mos/2 yrs. we had to wedge a rolled up towel down the front to keep her upright and cushion the plastic, or she was liable to face plant and scream for hours. it was actually great, as if her core was stabilised, she actually had the opportunity to practise her head control safely. still the same theory now - supportive seating opens up her fine motor. grin wink

we didn't do it for hours in front of the telly though. <missed a trick emoticon>

mumtomoley Mon 12-Dec-11 19:32:44

I don't have a walker, but have an activity centre which is basically the same thing but without wheels for my DS (8 months) - he has spent a lot of time in it over the last few months (got it about 5 months I think) but it's been very useful. For one thing it's somewhere safe to put him when I am out of the room (rather than a playpen) it doesn't appear to have delayed his physical development as he's been crawling for a while now, and can pull himself up to standing which is roughly age appropriate. The only thing that does concern me from what you've said above is about damage to hip/spine alignment, but I'm not sure the alternatives really appeal.

So what does everyone else do once they're mobile? Do you always sit in the same room as them and retrieve them when they start getting into something they shouldn't and just accept that you aren't going to get anything else done in the house all day as you are watching the baby? Or do you carry them from room to room with you? I quite often put DS in his activity centre or jumperoo while I go and make dinner/put washing on etc. I suppose a playpen is an alternative, but if you are worried about crawling, then that' not really going to help either. It's a sincere question! I think I probably do put him in it more than most people on this thread would approve of but as I say, so far no harm to his development and what's the alternative?
I do think walkers are pointless from the point of view of teaching them to walk though!

naturalbaby Mon 12-Dec-11 19:39:28

namechangerbat i hope you did a catsbummouth face at her too! i close my eyes and ears and sing lalalalalalla when i hear stuff like that. sad

i think i read with things like walkers and activity centres to limit them to 20mins.

NoGoodAtHousework Mon 12-Dec-11 19:40:39

We have one as someone gave it too us, we find it useful as DS wants to stand all the time (only 5 months) and the walker fools him a little bit, it also is a different view on life instead of flat in his back on his mat.

clam Mon 12-Dec-11 19:48:17

Because some people are bloody stupid and leave their babies unsupervised at the top of flights of stairs and so on. I was told that one baby fell off a flat roof in one!!! Yeah right, like that's the fault of the baby walker!
Both mine used to scuttle around in one for 5-10 minutes at a time, ditto the door-frame swing. Broke up the day nicely with something for them to "do."
They survived unscathed.

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