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Now that your baby is showing rapid signs of growth, you must be keen to see it take its first steps. Walking is an important event in the baby’s life and of the parents too, since it signifies independence. To help him along this path of discovery and freedom, you may want to encourage him by bringing home a walker.
When to Start Using Baby Walker for Your Baby
While there is no fixed appropriate age for a baby to use a walker, the baby’s strength, development and size will have to be considered before taking a decision. Walkers usually are designed for babies between the ages of 4 to 16 months. But apart from this, the baby needs to be able to hold his own head up quite steadily, and have his feet touch the floor to be able to use a walker.
Advantages of Baby Walkers
Here are a few pros of buying a walker for your baby:
- Walkers are engaging and inspiring: Most baby walkers are fitted with simple toys or attractions to keep the baby engaged and busy. They are designed to stimulate mental growth and provide visual stimulation too. A walker allows you to carry on with your daily tasks since the baby remains engaged with the attached toys.
- Walkers encourage babies to walk: With support at hand, your baby may be encouraged to take its first steps. It helps the baby to understand how the standing pose will aid walking and it will make attempts to get going on its own.
- Walkers promote mobility: Children between ages 8 to 12 months are keen to explore their surrounding world. The walker can provide them with the mobility they need and help them to manoeuvre by themselves without any assistance.
Disadvantages of Using Baby Walkers
Here are a few disadvantages, risks, and development issues related to the use of baby walkers:
- Babies using walkers may actually reach the walking or crawling milestones later than others who don’t.
- Your baby should follow the roll-sit up-crawl-walk routine for which it is important for it to stay on the floor. This workout helps in strengthening all the muscles needed to stand or walk. A walker may prevent your baby from doing so and impair normal development.
- Objects which are out of reach for a crawling baby may come within reach of a baby in a walker, and this could be the cause of injury.
- Your baby’s toes and fingers could be injured as the walker’s design may have folding parts or hinges.
- A walker with wheels reduces your reaction time if it picks up speed and can lead to an accident.
Does Baby Walker Help Balance?
The natural process of rolling over, crawling, standing and then walking teaches a baby how to balance itself. When you allow the baby to use a walker, walking on toes can seem natural to the baby. This habit may continue even when the baby stops using the walker, and the baby will need to learn to balance itself afresh.
Precautions to Take While Using Walkers for Your Child
It is highly recommended that you address baby walker safety issues before your child makes active use of one:
• Ensure that the baby walker is used on a flat and even surface only.
• Keep the baby and its walker away from staircases and water bodies of any kind
• It is mandatory for you or a responsible adult to be around while the baby is using the walker.
• Remove sharp and pointed objects or surfaces from the vicinity. Heavy or breakable objects should be moved into another area.
As we have seen, baby walkers have their own pros and cons and may often raise the question “are baby walkers safe?” As an alert parent, you will have to take care so that the advantages can be driven home while the disadvantages can be avoided. It is, after all, a parent’s responsibility to make sure that the baby’s development is unhindered due to the use of such objects.
Also Read: Baby Walking Signs