Can the walker be used or not? Here are some tips to make one of the most loved objects by children safer
Walker yes or no?
One of the questions that the pediatrician is most promptly asked lately is: walker yes or no? If when we were little the walker it was one of the best known and most used objects intended for early childhood, today it has almost fallen into disuse also due to recent discoveries relating to its safety.
Girello, the opinion of mothers
The walker is a very popular tool, especially because parents are able to free themselves for a while from the task of the child and the child himself, in general, loves it. This belief is, however, not entirely correct. It has been shown, in fact, that the walker causes more accidents than any other baby product. The majority of such incidents occur when babies are left alone in the walker without an adult to see what they are doing.
From 4-5 months, the baby has a great need to move. He must train his legs and arms to better coordinate gestures, strengthen his muscles and gradually prepare to take his first steps. Unfortunately, however, mum and dad do not always have the time to play with him and that is why many moms they choose to buy a walker.
Girello, the opinion of the experts
In the walker the child realizes that he has previously unthinkable abilities, which make him undertake experiences never even imagined before: the greater ease of movement allows for risky experiences, maneuvers or actions. He can grab objects that he otherwise cannot reach or he can attempt to go down stairs.
For these and other reasons theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics and other International Child Health and Safety Organizations advise parents not to use the walker.
Some parents mistakenly believe that the use of the walker can facilitate the learning of the first steps. Researches carried out suggest instead that moving with the walker can even delay the learning of balance and coordination of movements. Harnessed in the walker, the child tends to push himself, while in order to walk he must learn to balance in an upright position. So the baby is instead forced into an unnatural position that presses too much on the hip and causes him to walk “on tiptoe” before having reached the balance on the soles. The walker prevents the baby from experience some falls and therefore to develop a correct sense of balance and a little healthy prudence, it does not allow him to look at his legs and feet.
Alternatives to the walker
Just to try to guarantee maximum safety i new walker models they are definitely different from those of a few years ago.
The modern walker it has a metal frame that forms a wide and solid base with a plastic edge as a bumper, sometimes reinforced with a shockproof strip. Under the edge there are 6-8 swivel wheels. The structure is often foldable like an accordion with a safety lock. The harness is made of plastic or fabric, supported by metal tubes. A small table or a plastic tray completes the structure. It serves as a bumper and as a support surface.
There are currently versions in which the base is fixed, allowing the child to walk only in the support area. Still, other walkers have a base that is wider than the average of the doors, so at least, children cannot leave a room, or they cannot reach a table, etc.
Between alternatives to the walker that allow the child to stand up we find:
the braces first steps;
the first steps cart to which the child can lean and push to move at least a little.
Baby walker how many months?
The walker is indicated starting from six months of age and up to fifteen months.
Since baby walkers are still sold in Italy (despite having been bandits in some countries like Canada for example) it is important to be very careful if you want to use it. If you have decided to use it, it is important to follow the following safety rules:
- Never leave a baby alone in the walker, not even for a moment.
Eliminate potential dangers within reach of the child (drugs, stoves, electrical sockets, stairs, etc)
Remove all obstacles that could cause the walker to overturn
- Do not use the walker on a carpet: The baby can fall when the wheels are dragged on an unpolished surface
Make sure the walker has a wide enough base to widen the baby’s center of gravity
Do not use walkers that close with snap mechanisms: the child’s fingers can be trapped in these mechanisms with serious injuries
The walker must absolutely not to tip over both in the event of an impact and if the child leans forward
The seat should preferably be well padded and the child should be placed easily in the panty which serves as a harness
All springs and hinges must absolutely have adequate protective covers.
The plastic parts and paints used to cover the metal parts must be non-toxic
The structure must be robust to absorb shocks but also flexible so as not to break
Essential for a house with stairs is that the walker has a safety system capable of automatically block it near a step: when the wheels are no longer in contact with a surface, special pads are lowered onto the ground and stop the walker
Do not lift or carry a walker with a child inside