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(47 Posts)
AbiBub Wed 23-Sep-09 20:22:33

Hiya all.

Just would like some up to date advice with regards to baby walkers.

Our son is coming up for 6 months, and loves standing when I hold him, obvioulsy he cant do that on his own at the moment, but I don't know whether he would enjoy a baby walker (for very short bursts of time. Its not like I want to train him early to walk etc, but more for something different to do.

He has always been extreemly strong, with legs, neck, arms etc so I just really want some advice on what people think of them and whether there were any suggestions of good ones, if we decide to get one.

Many Thanks

boredwithfoodprob Wed 23-Sep-09 21:42:53

My DS was the same - strong legs from birth and very active, wanting to be upright. We bought him a walker for xmas, he was 4 months. He LOVED it from the start - even though he didn't learn to "walk" in it for a month or so he loved playing with the music/lights dashboard it has fixed to it. Once he realised he could actually MOVE in it he loved it even more and would get up to quite high speeds, once pinning his Great Grandma up against a wall in fear for her life shock!! However, I think it did make him a bit slower to start crawling (started at 10 months) - why bother when you've got wheels? But who knows, maybe he would have crawled late anyway. Once he'd started crawling/climbing he woke up one day and hated the walker but we still got 6 months use out of it and would say it's the best baby thing we've bought so far. It was a Chico one by the way, I think it's the DJ version grin Only £36 which is a bargain considering the use we got. Oh also it was great for putting DS in to entertain himself safely while I made dinner/tidied up etc etc....

Northernlurker Wed 23-Sep-09 21:49:30

Sorry but I think this is a very bad idea. Developmentally it's not a good idea - we aren't born needing wheels are we? Also safety wise it's a very bad plan. Baby walkers tip up - down steps, on uneven surfaces and onto hot or sharp things. They also allow the child to move too fast and therefore impact on things with a far greater force than any other developmental stage allows.

Many people love them of course but I've never had one in the house and knowing what I know I can't in all conscience say they are a benign thing. They're not.

A baby swing or door bouncer might entertain your son without the risks of a babywalker?

stainesmassif Wed 23-Sep-09 21:55:12

a baby entertainer is also a good alternative,but without the wheels.

francagoestohollywood Wed 23-Sep-09 21:59:25

Baby walkers are very controversial.
We used it when ds was around 8 months, he loved it and it bought me a hands free half an hour to cook dinner!

Rosebud05 Wed 23-Sep-09 22:01:49

I'd tend to agree witht the last two posters. I was in kid's A&E with my daughter the other week and there were a few posters stating how often kids are injured as a result of baby walkers. Not just falling down stairs or tipping over, but being able to reach things like hot drinks or knives. i feel your pain, though. My dd was able to bear her body weight on her legs from 12 weeks or so, but didn't crawl (bum shuffled) and didn't walk until 16 months. Having her hanging off the end of my fingers for months did nothing for my back, but it was obviously developmently the right thing for her and, like every other phase, did pass.

mrspnut Wed 23-Sep-09 22:02:20

I agree with Northernlurker, they are incredibly dangerous imo.

My youngest had a jumperoo which allows them to be upright and bouncing but without the added danger of them travelling across the floor.

She did only use it a few times though before she was pulling herself up on the furniture.

jujujbel Wed 23-Sep-09 22:07:45

I don't see any probs with them. We had one for DD1 (now 5) and she loved it. She did once pull a standard lamp over while in it but could have done that when crawling anyway. Only issue was that she got frustrated as lay out of our house meant that she often got stuck.

Mice ate ours when it was stored in attic and didn't bother getting one for DD2 and DS1, mainly due to poor mobility because of our house layout.

DS1 has also always been very strong and loves being up. We got him one of the 'baby stations' - same idea as a baby walker only no wheels - the seat swivels round and there are loads of bits and pieces to keep him occupied. It is really robust and he can have a good bounce about in it. He loves the baby walkers at toddlers though and get up to a great speed on the wooden floor of the village hall!

Seona1973 Wed 23-Sep-09 22:12:16

I used one with dd and ds and as long as you ensure dangerous items are out of reach and that there are no steps to fall down then they are perfectly safe. It never hampered the walking of either of them either as they were both walking by 11 months.

Heated Wed 23-Sep-09 22:12:25

Ds1 loved the baby walker which allowed him to be alongside me in the kitchen but still be independent. It was safer than having him underfoot and it meant I could get on with prepping a meal without ds wanting to be held all the time. DS was still small so couldn't reach anything counter height, I certainly wasn't under the illusion it would teach him to walk, but he enjoyed being upright and moving under his own steam. I would not have taken it upstairs and, safety wise, it was so wide it was pretty hard to manoeuvre through doorways.

boredwithfoodprob Wed 23-Sep-09 22:16:51

I think they are only dangerous if you allow the the child to be near stairs/uneven surfaces which you wouldn't allow a crawling/rolling child to be near anyway. As for being near anything hot/sharp there was not way he could have reached up that high to a kitchen surface. We mainly used ours in the kitchen with the door shut as it's a nice flat surface and no accidents even came close to happening. As previous poster says the Jumperoo is good too but DS always preferred walker! Oh by the way ours had an anti tipping device so was pretty much impossible for it to tip over - I think this is quite standard nowadays...

pooexplosions Wed 23-Sep-09 22:32:13

I think there is a good reason why they are actually illegal in several countries..... babies are not meant to be on wheels! hmm

francagoestohollywood Wed 23-Sep-09 22:34:10

they are illegal in which countries?

YouCantTeuchThis Wed 23-Sep-09 22:38:10

they have been "prohibited" in Canada for about 5 years IIRC.

francagoestohollywood Thu 24-Sep-09 08:44:17

are children not allowed in cars too in canada? or in buggies? or on their parents bikes? or starting to walk?

abra1d Thu 24-Sep-09 08:53:23

My mum, a HV, absolutely begged me not to get one because she thought they were so dangerous. We had doorframe bouncers instead--the baby is much less likely to get into trouble. And my son loved them (my daughter hated them).

YouCantTeuchThis Thu 24-Sep-09 08:53:30

Rospa policy

Which? advice

Make your own mind up, whilst you still can wink

Personally, I wouldn't have one and that is also much to do with how weird babies look in them, like computer-animated dancing baby on All McBeal grin

francagoestohollywood Thu 24-Sep-09 08:59:55

"Walkers can also take you by surprise because they can suddenly move away from you, particularly in a backwards direction, and they also enable your baby to reach for things you may not be prepared for, such as items on a low shelf or the corner of a table cloth, dragging the contents on to the floor"

they can take you by surprise??? Do they think parents are completely devoid of intelligence?

Look, I don't want to defend baby walkers, i couldn't really care less and my advice would be to use them as little as possible (because I don't think they are great for baby's legs). As I said my active son loved his, but he was in it only half an hr a day (and for only 1 or 2 months before he started crawling), and I had made sure that there wasn't anything dangerous around he could grab.

But it all seems OTT.

FlamingoDuBeke Thu 24-Sep-09 09:03:43

Dangerous and totally unneccessary. I don't get why people think babies need things we've spent millenia growing up without!

Anyway, all of my four managed without one and they seem to be ok!

Franca - sadly a lot of parents are completely devoid of intelligence sad. Naive to think everyone is as diligent as you (or I, or many other parents).

YouCantTeuchThis Thu 24-Sep-09 09:07:15

I think that the problem arises when people believe that their baby is in a safe "baby-friendly" piece of equipment, as opposed something that may require even closer supervision.

I think that the guidelines have had to be very clear because of the continuing level of injuries.

I don't like them for my children, would advise anyone who asked not to bother, but yeah, I don't feel that strongly that they should be banned or anything!

Sunshinemambo Thu 24-Sep-09 09:10:07

I had one for my two and we had no problems, but you do have to keep an eye on them as they can move very very fast. It does depend on the baby though as DS loved but DD would cry the minute I put her in it until I got her out again.

BertieBotts Thu 24-Sep-09 09:11:08

I wouldn't use a baby walker, personally. Yes the newer ones do have anti-tipping devices, but they are still dangerous because you are giving a 4 month old child the mobility and reach of a 12 month old child - they are not ready for it and you are not used to it. It is hard enough to babyproof when they are developing at normal rate, but they do go slowly at first, so you can catch up and get into the habit of moving hot drinks, knives, securing large pieces of furniture etc.

As I understand it most injuries from baby walkers now are from babies bashing into things at high speed (e.g. bookcases, TV stands with large heavy TVs, tables with hot drinks/heavy crockery) and knocking whatever it is (or its contents) over onto themselves. An older child learning to walk is unlikely to run into a bookcase at such a speed to knock it over unless it's very unstable - and if they knock things off shelves etc onto themselves like books, they are likely to do less damage because the baby is older and more robust.

Obviously the dangers of falling down stairs or into ponds etc are easily prevented if you only use it downstairs inside - these are not the only dangers and it annoys me that they are always quoted as the biggest dangers, it encourages people to think "Well only stupid people would let a baby use it upstairs/outside near a pool/pond etc". Which is true - you'd have to be severely lacking in common sense! But there are other dangers which aren't so obvious.

Also, they are really bad for development as they put unnecessary strain on the baby's spine and hips and hold the baby in an unnatural position for walking which can lead to problems when they do walk independently. (Anecdata alert: I was in a baby walker a lot when I was a baby and while I never had an accident in it, I do now have fallen arches in my feet which is thought to be related to baby walker use)

I would second the recommendation of the Jumperoo - as long as you are aware of the risks of prolonged use on hip/spine development. My DS loved his Jumperoo and I knew he was safe in it so could go to the toilet etc while he was in it. He loved bearing his own weight pretty much from birth and started pulling himself up on the furniture just before he turned 8 months old, so whether it helped or not I don't know but it helped bridge that gap My friend had a Baby Einstein thing which kind of had a toy table in the middle and the seat went around the outside so sort of like a baby walker but attached to this toy table so they can't go anywhere!

francagoestohollywood Thu 24-Sep-09 09:16:41

Ds, even in a baby walker, wouldn't have let me get out of his sight, so it never occurred to me to leave him alone in a room!

BertieBotts Thu 24-Sep-09 09:21:08

Sorry - the babyproofing comment comes across as patronising there. It's not meant to be, it's just that with your first the whole mobility/babyproofing thing really does take you by surprise. My DS was one of the earlier developers in our NCT group and when we went round to others' houses who still had rolling/sitting babies, they thought they had babyproofed, but we still spent the entire time chasing them and they realised pretty quickly that the room was not babyproof at all! I had the same thing with my DS - I never realised how many dangerous things, knives, hot drinks, cables etc I do leave lying around within reach blush

The Fisher Price Jumperoos go fairly cheap on ebay BTW - especially if you can find one to pick up locally. Ours was like new and cost £55 Also if you buy it secondhand you should be able to make the money back again when your DD outgrows it (or keep it for any younger babies) I have just put ours away at 10/11 months as DS was trying to clmb out. They say they can be used until 12 months or so so I think it depends on their development level.

<stops rambling now>

JackBauer Thu 24-Sep-09 09:29:44

I had a baby entertainer, basically a baby walker with a platform underneath but no wheels. It let DD2 be upright and interact but meant she wasn't mobile. It helped that she could be upright and interct with DD1 without fear of being stepped on so I loved it.

TBH I think babywalkers should not be manufactured anymore.

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