Why “The Best Baby Walker” Is Actually a Baby Jumper (2018 Guide)
But as I was scouring the internet, trying to decide on the best walker, I came across some startling articles that basically outlined why they should be avoided due to some serious safety concerns and dangerous developmental reasons.
I later learned that baby jumpers were widely accepted and recommended by parents, so I decided to add one to my registry instead. In the long run, it was the best swap I decided to make!
After all, why walk when you can jump?
You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal about a walker?” But, I learned through research that many doctors do not recommend putting your child in one.
Here is some of the information I’ve come across that has opened my eyes to the issue, which majorly swayed my purchase.
The Problems with Baby Walkers
If you do enough research, you'll learn that there are some serious developmental and safety reasons that you might not want to get one for your little one.
Here are some reasons to stay away.
Injuries to Your Baby
Back in the late nineties, the Consumer Products Safety Commission alerted consumers that these products were responsible for more injuries than any other product on the market.
Babies suffered from head injuries, broken bones, broken teeth, burns, and even amputation or death in the most extreme cases.
The reason these injuries occurred is because the baby was able to move faster than their parent’s reaction time. Talk about heels on wheels!
Many babies have also rolled down stairs and have reached up toward hot surfaces to grab pots and pans, and other poisonous objects on counter tops. Parents simply thought because their little one was seated and enclosed, that they were safe. They didn’t take into account other surrounding dangers or objects their little one could get their hands on.
Walkers have become safer today, after refining their design, but they still are on the dangerous side and really show no benefit to their developmental milestones.
Delayed Developmental Milestones
Usually, babies develop the urge to move across the floor. They all feel compelled to do this at various ages and stages, and that's why tummy time is so important—it allows them to scoot, strengthen their arms, legs, and neck muscles by stretching, rolling, and eventually crawling.
This becomes highly rewarding to an infant and they crave to do it again and again. Eventually, babies will be able to reach for toys and pull themselves upright.
But, think about it—if an infant is constantly seated in one, they will not spend that important time on the floor, mastering these important milestones.
In fact, many parents use these products to serve as a temporary “baby sitter” while they hop in and out of the bathroom, cook dinner, or complete other chores instead of spending time on the floor, developing their muscles and helping them discover their world.
One article, published in a British medical journal, followed a doctor who studied the effects of walkers and babies. One of the doctors, Dr. Garrett, said the problem was that the child could move around without carrying its own body weight.
This meant that the muscles and bones did not gain in strength in the normal way one should. It also meant that the nervous system was deprived of the sensory information required to learn how to walk effectively.
In addition, the study focused on 190 healthy babies who were attending day care centers. The parents were asked to record the age at which their child reached various developmental milestones including rolling over, sitting alone, crawling, and walking alone.
At the end of the study, the more often a child used a walker, the more its development was delayed.
So, based on the information above, studies have shown that babies who are routinely placed in these devices walk later than they should and steadily show delayed motor development even after learning to walk.
Delayed Mental Development
Besides the added danger of moving faster and a decline in physical milestones, doctors also feel that babies show a delay in mental development.
Most types aren’t designed like stationary saucers or jumpers, which are filled with lights, music, and toys that enhance fine and gross motor skills.
There is nothing on a walker that stimulates a baby and that exposes them to various textures or overall learning experiences.
Why You Should Buy a Jumper Instead
So, I don't recommend getting a walker for all the reasons listed above. Instead, do yourself a favor and get your little one a jumper (you can check out our full baby jumper guide here).
Here are some of their advantages.
Jumpers are stationary, despite their names. Your infant can be placed in a springy seat and jump safely up and down until they tire! There is no rolling and no wheels.
Your wee one is able to move freely around the jumper to access toys and buttons. If your infant cannot climb and pull themselves up yet, then there is no way they are leaving the jumping area.
Jumpers are often of a heavier weight, so they are very difficult (or nearly impossible) to knock over or move because the design supports a steady placement.
Jumpers have dozens of activities located around its surface. Babies can explore pushing buttons, enjoying soothing sounds, pressing things to light them up, rubbing their fingers on different textures, and even enjoy putting an attached teething toy in their mouth while bouncing and wiggling away.
As your little one ages, you can start to name colors, letters, numbers, and other objects featured on the jumper.
Babies are still encouraged to spend lots of time on the floor playing and exploring.
But, when you can’t immediately supervise them, you can gain peace of mind knowing that are playing in a stationary device that lets them not only have an output for their energy and excitement, but the ability to build muscle!
Jumping repetitively will make their little legs tone up, as well as strengthen their core. All the jumping they are doing will help propel them forward on the floor, encouraging them to scoot and pull themselves up quickly.
You can use a jumper for various ages, as the item will grow with your infant. Once your little one maxes out the weight/height requirement, they can play with the perimeter of the jumper, which often opens up and serves as a play center.
The center will encourage your wee one to pull themselves up and try to take steps around the jumper to get their hands (or mouth) on some of the enticing objects and toys.
My son loved his jumper. And, I’m so glad I got informed and opted to skip on the walker.
I truly believe it helped him take his first steps at only 9 months old because he had the strength and stamina to do so. It kept him safe and served as a faithful and fun toy for him up until his first birthday.
Hopefully the information provided will allow you to make a reasoned decision and you’ll have nothing but your little one's best developmental interests in mind.
After all, why walk when you can jump?