Walkers can’t help babies walk early, unsafe — Paediatricians
•How helpful is the baby walker? Image credit: MomJunction
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Child health experts have cautioned parents against forcing their children to use infant walkers, noting that the use of walkers won't help babies walk early.
The paediatricians noted that they are discouraging the use of baby walkers by parents not only because it has no added advantage to the child's ability to walk, but also because it exposes the baby to varied safety risks and hazards.
The experts stated this in separate exclusive interviews with PUNCH HealthWise.
A Consultant Paediatrician with Massey Street Children Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Zainab Opoola, told our correspondent that the reason paediatricians discourage the use of baby walker was that it is prone to accident.
She, however, said that doctors do not discourage the use of rockers.
Opoola explained," We don't encourage the use of baby walkers. When a child is on the walker, you just assume that the baby is "safe" but many accidents can still happen especially for children that are already trying to walk. And the make of the baby walker if it is not strong enough, the thing can just slip and the baby falls and an accident happens.
"A mother can put her baby on a walker and quickly goes to get something thinking her child is relatively safe and by the time she comes back, an accident has happened.
"It is because of the accident that we (paediatricians) don't recommend baby walkers especially as it does not have benefits as regards their motor milestones."
Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents not to use baby walkers.
"Contrary to what the name suggests, these devices do not help children learn to walk. They actually eliminate the desire to walk. To make matters worse, they present a serious tipping hazard when the child bumps into an obstacle, like a small toy or a throw rug. Children in walkers are also more likely to fall down stairs and get into dangerous places otherwise beyond their reach," the academy said.
According to AAP, many babies’ first steps are taken around their first birthday, although it's normal for children to start walking earlier or later.
For parents worried about their children having delayed walking, the paediatrician noted that there are factors that could predispose babies to walk late though some babies are slow walkers.
"Many things can make a baby walk late. Before walking, there are other milestones. There is neck control, sitting, and crawling. So, if a child has had delays in the previous ones, and is having delays in walking, you won't be surprised.
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