Infants can suffer serious injuries when unsupervised in baby walkers. Always keep an eye on your infant when they're using a baby walker and ensure hazardous areas in the house are blocked off.
Baby walkers allow infants to stand up and move around on their feet while they are still learning to walk. Walkers surround the infant with a frame mounted on wheels which the infant can hold on to.
Over 100 children visit emergency rooms each year from incidents involving baby walkers, mainly due to head or facial injuries caused by falls.
Infants can trip over objects left on the floor such as toys, clothes or other household items, or fall down stairs and steps that haven't been blocked off. This can cause serious injuries, such as head trauma and fractures. Unsupervised infants in baby walkers can also gain access to potentially hazardous areas they normally couldn't reach, such as:
- bench tops where there may be hot food, drinks or sharp objects
- kitchen utensil drawers where sharp objects are stored
- ovens and other appliances.
Children in baby walkers can suffer burn or laceration injuries if they are able to reach these items.
Many parents allow a child in a baby walker unrestricted access around the home. Remember, even if your baby walker has the required safety features, they are not child minding devices. Constant supervision is key to avoiding injuries when using a walker.
Child safety experts do not recommend baby walkers, due to:
- the serious injuries infants can suffer when using them
- possible delays in learning to walk caused when walkers are used frequently for periods 15 minutes or longer.
See the risks associated with baby walkers and find out about safety features you should look for if purchasing one.
- Look for a baby walker that has a braking mechanism to stop it falling down steps.
- Check that any folding mechanism latches securely and will not collapse when assembled.
- Check that there are no sharp edges or points or places that can trap fingers.
- Ensure your child fits properly in the baby walker.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- Always supervise your child in a baby walker. They should always be in reach of an adult who can prevent them accessing hazardous areas.
- Ensure the baby walker is only used on flat, even and safe surfaces to avoid falling or tipping over.
- Block off access to staircases, steps, kitchens and fireplaces to prevent injuries from falls, burns, electrocution, or sharp objects.
- Do not place any objects on the baby walker that could cause it to tip over.
- Make sure your baby walker has the safety features required by the mandatory standard – see the video below.
- Do not leave your child in the baby walker for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Overuse can lead to developmental delays when they are learning to walk.