Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baby Walker - Myths or Truths

The myth: Baby walkers help babies to learn how to walk.

The truth: Prolonged use of baby walkers can slow down baby's ability to walk.

Babies go through many stages of development. As the infant grows, the central nervous system matures and muscle bulk increases in size gradually. This allows the infant to move from a lying down to an upright position.

There have been no studies to prove that an infant will walk at an earlier age if he is put in a walker. Putting an infant in a walker allows him to move around and explore his surroundings. It encourages the child to extend his legs, allowing weight bearing to occur. At the same time, the muscle groups in the legs of the baby are strengthened.

In addition, the infant should be about 5 to 6 months old before being put in a walker. This is to ensure that he has developed adequate head and upper body control in an upright position.
When the infant further develops and starts to crawl or pull himself into the standing position, other muscle groups are developed in these activities. Putting the infant in a walker then might not allow development of these other muscle groups.

As the child grows stronger, a single push on the walker might propel the infant in the walker far ahead. This may lead to headlong collisions with furniture, or falls down a flight of unbarred steps.

Baby walkers have been responsible for many injuries and deaths in children as:
• Babies in walkers move faster and reach higher than are appropriate for their age, putting them at risk of injuries
• Babies in walkers cannot see where they are going or what they are running over well
• Walkers tip over easily
• With the 'aid' of walkers, toddlers can run into hidden dangers, bump into furniture, pull on hanging appliance cords, topple over, and fall down stairs

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