As a parent, seeing your baby take its first tiny steps can be one of the most memorable days of your life. Walking is an important step in the child’s development to reach autonomy. To help you baby on this, you can motivate him by getting him a walker.
However, there are certain things to consider and safety precautions to maintain before you give the walker to your baby. This is a detailed guide to help you hand the walker to your baby at the right age and how it can benefit your baby.
At what age you can put a child into a walker?
There is no specific answer to this question. Doctors recommend that you can get a baby walker when your baby turns 6 to 8 months. However, as they say, each child is unique and your baby might not be ready for a walker yet, even if he is 6-8 months old.
“When to buy a walker?” depends largely on the physical development and the activities of your baby, rather than s hiage. Don’t look at the age. Observe the activities of your child closely and then decide if you want to get him/her a walker.
Below are some of the milestones in a baby’s physical activity and behavior to check to see if he is ready for a walker:
- If your baby is at least 6 months old.
- Can your baby hold his head steady?
- Does your baby sit upright without any support and does not fall over?
- Has he become good at crawling?
- Does he pull himself and try to stand?
- Can stand with support.
- Does not have any musculoskeletal disorders.
Benefits of Using Baby Walker
Motivates to walk
The additional support motivates your baby and gives him confidence to walk. Your baby also understands how to move his legs to achieve the milestone.
The baby walkers come with toys attached to them. These toys are colorful and create different sounds. This engages the baby and increases curiosity. Moreover, once the baby starts walking, he tries to reach other objects and explore his surroundings.
Crawling and walking without the support of parents are the first signs of autonomy in a baby. Using a walker can have a psychological impact as well and he learns to do things without help from others.
With the help of the walker, your baby can maneuver around the room by itself. His movements are not restricted and can explore the surroundings without any human assistance.
Drawbacks of Using Baby Walker
While the primary purpose of using a walker is to motivate your baby to walk, some preliminary findings have shown that it actually delays the walking process. Some suggest that the more time a baby spends on his walker, the more time they take to achieve the walking milestones.
When a baby uses a walker, it spends very less time on the floor. As a result, it missed out on the important repetitive movements that provide training to his muscles.
The baby won’t learn to crawl as he spends most of the time in the walker.
As the child gets additional support, his muscles do not get strong. This delays the child’s development and hence, takes more time to walk without any support.
Using the walker for a longer-period of time can lead to a disease called spinal curvature. When your baby is not physically ready to stand, he can develop this disease.
It greatly increases the risk of injury. Your baby’s toes and finger can hit the hinges or folding parts of the walker. Or, your baby can reach sharp objects, since he has more mobility.
It can have a psychological effect on your baby. He might start to think that he can’t do things on his own and need additional support. Moreover, when you remove the walker, the bay can start to experience fear and anxiousness to walk.
How to Correctly Choose a Walker?
The dimensions of the walker should suit the height and weight of your baby. The feet of your baby should be able to touch the floor while standing in the walker. Also, the walker should be able to hold the weight of your baby.
The baby walker should be very stable and sturdy. It should have a broad base so that it does not tilt or fall over when your baby is trying to walk using it.
The baby walker should not have any loose components or sharp edges. It might lead to injuries.
It should have a bumper to prevent your baby from hitting the falls.
It should comply with the safety standards and should have a label that displays the warning signs.
It should have automatic brakes or grippers. When your baby is trying to walk fast, it will lose its balance and hit on a wall. Having automatic brakes will maintain the balance of your baby and the walker.
Ensure that it is easily foldable and you can carry it along with you. This comes especially handy when your house has small rooms.
Additionally, it should have colorful toys that produce a range of different sounds. It engages the baby and helps in the development of visual and auditory systems.
Safety Guidelines or Precautions
With babies, you can never be overly safe. When your baby is using the walker, there are a set of safety guidelines you need to follow to prevent any unfortunate incidents.
- Dont use a walker unless your baby can sit up straight on his own or tries to stand up.
- Dont let your baby use the walker for more than 20 minutes.
- Never let your babies out of sight. When they are in the walker, monitor your babies constantly.
- The walker should comply with the safety standards of objects used by babies.
- The walker should be used on a flat surface without any objects lying on the ground.
- Ensure your baby is locked to the walker’s seat lock to prevent him from falling over.
- Allowing the baby to use the walker in a baby-proofed room is preferable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Doctors’ recommended age is 6 to 8 months to put the baby in the walker. However, your baby should be able to sit upright without falling off. Additionally, he should try to crawl easily and try to stand with some support.
You should not let your baby use the walker for more than 20 minutes in a single stretch. Over-using the walker can strain the baby’s spine.
You should not let your baby use the walker after he has reached 12 months of age. Using beyond that might lead to delayed developments in the locomotory system.
Your baby should have a steady head and be able to sit straight without any support before you put him in a walker. In case if you put your baby in the walker before that, he will fall off from the walker.
Yes, all babies can learn to walk without the help of a walker. However, using a walker motivates the baby to walk sooner by offering additional support and giving him confidence.
As responsible parents, we strive to get the best things for our children right from their birth. Getting the best baby walker and allowing your baby to use it at the right time, in addition to following the safety precautions can help your baby take his first steps in the right direction.
If you want to share your experiences of using a baby walker or need any additional queries, let us know in the comments section.