What is a baby walker & jumper?
A baby walker is a device that can be used by infants who cannot walk on their own to move from one place to another. Most commonly, it has a base made of hard plastic sitting on top of wheels and a suspended fabric seat with two leg holes. A baby walker often has toys attached to the top to entertain the baby. It is designed for a child between 4 and 16 months.
The baby jumper is a devide that used by infants to jump it in. It a device that allows the baby to be standing just like the walker, but it stays stationed.
These devices should only be used by infants who have gained their upper body strength, sitting up straight without back support.
Will baby walkers and jumpers help my baby learn to walk?
No. In fact, studies have shown that babies who use a walker may actually learn to walk about a month later than those who don't. Walkers allow babies to move around before they are physically ready for it, which can cause unusual movement patterns and delayed muscle control.
Babies learn to walk in part by watching and understanding how their feet and legs move. If a walker has a tray, they can't see what's happening with their lower body and don't get the information they need about their motor development.
Are infant walkers safe?
The position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is clear though. In their fact sheet 'Baby Walkers are Dangerous!' they advise that you should 'throw away your baby walker' based on the fact that:
- Baby walkers send more than 14,000 children to the hospital every year, and
- 34 children have died since 1973 because of baby walkers.
The AAP has gone so far as to call for 'a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers with wheels '
Mobile baby walkers are still popular though.
Older infants seem to enjoy them, as they often quickly get bored in stationary walkers, even the newer ones with all of the bells and whistles.
As the statistics from the AAP show, many infants are injured when they use a mobile infant walker.
- falls, especially down stairs
- pinch injuries to fingers and toes
Most of these injuries aren't because the walker itself is dangerous, but only that it makes your child more mobile, which can cause injuries if your house isn't well childproofed. Afterall, your infant isn't going to get burned or poisoned by the walker. Instead, using a walker, he can get to and knock over a hot cup of coffee, pull something off of the stove, get too close to a fireplace or grab something poisonous out of a cabinet.
Why I decided to let Miya use the walker dispite all of these information I’ve learned from the Experts?
Miya started using the walker at the age of 5months. At that age, she could sit up straight without needing any additional support to the back.
Mama-miya also learned that it is ok to use the walker if we are using an Infant Walker Safely.
Millions of infant walkers are sold each year, so I don't see anyone stopping the manufacturing of this device. Our people is still using it, and we don’t really see parents rushing to the ER everyday with their walker related injury on an infant, but we do see parents rushing in with a NEGLECT related injury.
So what important here? that means making sure your home is childproofed and keep the walker away from stairs, your pool and parts of your home that are not childproofed.
Many parents don't think about childproofing until their child is crawling or walking, but if you are using a non-stationary walker with wheels, then your infant is going to be mobile and you have to get things childproofed, including:
- placing covers on electrical outlets and latches on drawers and cabinets
- prevent poisonings by keeping household cleaners, chemicals and medicines completely out of reach
- removing furniture with sharp edges or use soft guards.
- removing heavy objects and breakables from low tables and shelves
- not carrying hot liquids or food near your child and not allowing your child near stoves, heaters or other hot appliances (especially curling irons)
- locking rooms (with a childproof lock or door knob cover) that are not childproof and the exterior doors of your house so that your child can't get out the front door or into the garage, attic, or backyard without help
You also want to make sure that you are using a newer model infant walker that meets new voluntary safety standards, including having a wide base so that they can't fit through most doorways and a braking mechanism so that the walker stops if one or more wheels come off of the ground, like if it was going down stairs.
And be sure to always supervise your child in a mobile walker. Remember that most infants are quite fast in these walkers and can quickly get away from you and the AAP does say that 'walkers are never safe to use, even with close adult supervision' and that many walker injuries occur while the child was being supervised by an adult.
At first, between age 5-8months, I let Miya sit in her walker without the roller/wheels. I turned her walker into a non-mobile activity station. Station..Stationary Position. Get it? If she’s going nowhere, lesser risk for accident to happen.
As many experts do believe that the risks of using a mobile infant walker far outweighs the benefits, you might consider avoiding mobile walkers and just use a stationary activity center instead.
So we became her learning desk, dining table and also a baby seater (where she can just sit up straight while watching mama-miya do the housework or read or blogging or forming…hehehe).
Recently, Miya at late 8months, she started to be climbing, crawling and cruising around the furnitures, she started this Daredevil Act…LOOK MAMA, NO HANDS!! There are times she successfully take a step or two and then take her seat on the floor, but there are times she comes crashing down on the floor. Usually elbow or head first. When the pain is manageable, she will persistently stand up again (I forgot to mention that she have started to stand on her own from the seating position without having to hold onto or climbing on stuff. Made me proud, at age 8months!!) and try walking. When it really hurts, she will give a hell of a cry for a few seconds. The pain will definitely go away after mama “jampi” at the pain area (it’s the comfort of a mom that counts, right?).
Back on topic, I decided to put her on the walker with wheels now. I decided to let her explore the house and learn to use her feet with the guard of the walker. I don’t feel it is ok to let her keep on falling down. Kang anak aku jadi bodoh tak pasal-pasal kan? We would never know if the knock on the head is ok or not, right? So better safe than sorry.
So is the house child proof? So far so good, since I’ve packed most of our stuff to be shipped to Melbourne, the house is almost empty. Miya did went into the kitchen and open the cabinet, to her despair, no more plated and cups in there for her to serve to papa and mama.