Walkers can give parents a false impression that their babies are truly mobile and can control their actions. Exersaucers, as well as door jumpers, are much safer alternatives, but none of these options will help your child learn to walk earlier than usual.
At the age of six months, almost all babies start figuring out how to use the different muscles of their body. According to the experts, this is the first step of a baby learning or getting ready for walking.
In this second step a baby learns how to use different body muscles, which slowly encourages them to do some sort of movement. These are the essential steps that usually almost all the babies follow before they walk correctly.
Now some of you might be wondering about the importance of push walkers in this process or does it help. First, we must understand that push walker making companies are making thousands of walkers per year to supply all around the globe, which means people are using them for their babies.
Recently, we discussed the push walker’s benefits, now let’s take a look at the other side. Yeah, there is no doubt that there are some possible disadvantages also present of a baby push walker.
But most of them occur when you missed something meaningful about it, and you don’t know when actually to use it for your baby. The most common disadvantage of a baby push walker that people believe but it, not a problem.
We have already mentioned it before that it only happens when you introduce the baby walker too early. Another disadvantage of a push walker is that it can quickly move because of the wheels, which means it will improve the chances of your baby reaching a dangerous place like stairs, pools, etc.
And because with the help of a push walker, your baby can move too quickly; in short, it can increase the chances of collision with something hard and sharp. You can follow some safety guidelines such as buying the right type of walker, only using it on the flat surfaces, choosing a walker with a wheel brake system, and blocking the path to go on dangerous places such as stares and pools, and anything sharp and hard, etc.
In short, there is nothing wrong with introducing the push walker to your baby, and yes, it can surely help your baby learn to walk if you introduce it at the right time and follow all the safety measures. However, the developmental pace for every baby is different, and thus some might start walking after 12 months.
Baby walkers are unsafe and are a leading cause of injury in children under the age of four (2). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has also called for a ban on baby walkers with wheels (3).
Moving at such incredible speeds is overwhelming for a baby and can result in the loss of balance. A study has found that 82% of falls from a baby walker lead to a head injury in the infant (5).
The head is extra delicate in babies due to their soft skull bones and developing brain. Any grievous injury can cause a lasting impact on the baby’s life.
Medical experts state that a baby on a walker can have access to upper shelves from where they may pull down large items that can fall on their heads. The easy accessibility increases the risk of the baby getting access to poisonous substances, hot food items, and also places like the swimming pool or the bathtub where they can fall, choke, and even drown.
Parents can do little during an untoward incident since things happen quickly with barely any time to react. An infant will stand up and start cruising (walk with support) once their legs are ready, irrespective of whether they use a walker or not.
This causes a miss on practicing important, repetitive movements needed for them to reach their walking milestones. This tightens their leg muscles and interferes with normal walking development.
A baby doesn’t balance in a walker, delaying their learning of this important skill. Being in a walker also means less time on hands and knees in a crawling or pre-crawling position.
Play yards or playpens and stationary activity centers are safer alternatives to a baby walker and are known to boost a baby’s physical development without causing any risks. Stationary activity centers are like walkers with no wheels and can be used for a few hours every day (7).
Play yards can be used for babies of any age since the baby can sit, stand, lie down, or try to walk in them safely. Here’s what you need to know about your baby’s gross motor development during this exciting time, how you can safely encourage walking, and some notes on what might be more harmful than helpful.
Babies often start walking around 12 months old, but this could certainly happen earlier or later, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Why it helps: Even if your baby isn’t walking, encouraging mobility means that they’ll be into anything and everything in their path.
Basically, this means that your baby needs strong core muscles to support standing and walking. You might even consider having your baby sit on a tiny stool (or bench, foam roller, cube chair) with their feet on the floor (supervised, of course!).
If you want to lead your little one on a small walking excursion around the living room, do so by supporting their trunk and not their hands. When you support their trunk, you help your baby develop a more natural gait and one that’s not tilted forward onto the toes.
Take one of their favorite toys or stuffed animals and hold it out a couple steps in front of them. When your baby reaches for items, the legs must take on the task of balancing and supporting the body.
A low, open shelving unit is a good choice that gives your child both a full view and easy access to toys. Squatting is an essential motion that builds lower body strength and teaches your baby to transfer weight while standing.
If your baby pulls to stand quite easily, the next step might be cruising furniture like sofas and coffee tables. Over time, cruising sessions may become longer and provide a lot of practice on foot, increasing their overall stamina.
Why it helps: Cruising is a type of supported walking that works the muscles in the hips and thighs. Over time, your baby will rely much less on their hands or possibly forget they need the added support at all.
Mini shopping carts, baby strollers, and other push toys provide another opportunity for supported walking on the go. When choosing a push toy, you’ll want to make sure it’s sturdy and provides enough resistance on whatever type of flooring you have.
Read reviews, as some work better on carpet versus hardwood floors and vice versa. Why it helps: Push toys allow your baby to gain some independence while still having added “dynamic support” they need as they move through the stages of walking.
They also offer fun activities to encourage movement in other ways, like squatting and reaching. Why it helps: Occupying your baby’s hands shifts focus from supported motion, like cruising.
When your baby is holding an object, they’ll be less likely to reach out for support and more likely to work on balance in the trunk and lower body. Let your child slowly climb up the stairs using their hands, knees, and feet.
Why it helps: Climbing stairs lets your baby strengthen their trunk and leg muscles. Your child may show some signs they’re ready, but it can take a long time to get everything with the brain and body coordinated.
Celebrate the small successes and meet your child at their ability level when trying to help them reach the next big milestone. Sounds entertaining, but think of it this way: You place a young baby in a device with wheels on the bottom.
As a result, a baby who isn’t mobile has the ability to move about a room somewhat quickly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that you should let your pediatrician know if your baby isn’t walking by the time they’re 18 months old.
Simply call your area’s program and say: “I’m worried about my child’s development and would like to have them evaluated to find out if they’re eligible for early intervention services.” With walking, services usually involve physical therapy to work on gross motor skills.
There are many things you can do to gently encourage your child’s movement and build the muscles needed to support their body with this new way of getting around. If you have concerns about your baby’s progress toward this milestone, contact your pediatrician or consider scheduling an evaluation with Early Intervention.