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We discussed about ‘crawling’ in my previous post and like every anxious parent we always await our child’s next milestone “their first step.” It is super exciting to watch your little one learn to walk. Your baby’s muscle tone and strength have direct impact on his ability to walk, especially his or her gross motor development. Since many parents want their kid to learn from the best, they tend to buy baby walkers before the 12th month itself. But do remember that the developmental pace for every baby differs a lot and thus some might start walking after 12 months. According to a research, about 50-77% of parents said they use a baby walker in the 12th month itself. But experts don’t find it to be a decent idea!
Are baby Walkers safe?
In fact, Baby walkers are not safe and don’t help much for a baby to learn to walk. Instead, walkers can impede or delay your baby from achieving their important milestones. The more time they tend to spend in the walker, the more delay they experience new things. Before heading to what are the alternatives of baby walkers let’s understand the potential dangers –
Dangers of baby walkers
- Babies lose their balance near steps or stairs: This is a major risk with baby walkers if you have stairs in the house. Kids with walkers can often walks towards the edge of stairs and can fall.
- Babies can Stumble into something sharp or hard objects.
- Baby walkers can delay physical development of baby as they use their leg muscles differently than they usually do. They start using toes and start tipping their legs during walking.
- Baby on walker can grab unnecessary and dangerous objects like electrical cords or cupboards. They can have access to upper shelves from where they may pull down large items that can fall on their heads.
- Baby on walker starts moving in a rush around dangerous spots like fireplaces, ovens, heaters or the pool which can cause serious accidents.
- Baby walker delay their balancing skills. Babies who stay in a walker spend less time on floor activities such as crawling which is important to develop weight bearing through both the pelvis and shoulders.
Few tips to help your baby to walk:
Instead of investing on baby walkers start encouraging them to walk.
Always Start low: Place some low furniture like your coffee table, couch, or anything close together and let your baby walk short distances.
You can play ‘Come to Me’: Kneel or stand like about one foot in front of your little one and tell your baby to come to you. This will motivate your little one to take a step towards you.
Let them walk barefoot: Shoes often hinder your baby walking skills. Allowing your child to walk barefoot indoors will improve coordination and balance.
What Are The Alternatives of baby walkers:
I will suggest is to go for Play yards or playpens and stationary activity centres. They all are safer and even boosts the baby’s physical development without any major risks. There is no such right time for you to buy these activity centres but I would suggest you to buy the same after your toddler becomes 8 months old.
Lastly, as a parent, you have to understand that there is no safe age to use baby walkers for your baby. They will learn to stand and walk, when the little one is ready for the same. Rushing the process will not make it any faster or better, instead, it can have several after effects.
I am writing 26 post in this series .Do check my earlier post