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Author Topic: Baby walkers - to use it or not? is it safe or dangerous?  (Read 6759 times)
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sebastian
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« on: January 23, 2009, 02:56:05 PM »

What do you think? what was your experience in teaching, estimulating your child to walk?
Since Matheo is encouraged to gain experience on floor as much as possible, and since his ability to crawl/creep has improved a lot... this question arouse in me.
I remeber Glenn Doman, saying in "How smart is your baby" that baby walkers must be avoided since they're not beneficial in the early child development.

According to my parents sayings i used to use a babywalker, and by 8 months old i was walking by then... so when they asked me if i'll buy one for Matheo i said "no", that i will stick to the instutes profile of develompment but i would like some oppions, suggestions from you, what do you think?

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patreiche
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2009, 03:43:06 PM »

I don't think a walker hurts them. One of the reason they are safety concern is because parents let their kids walk down the stairs with them. As long as you are responsible parent and use reason, I think they are fine. Anything done too much or too soon can be harmful.

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Frukc
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2009, 04:41:26 PM »

google yourself
http://www.google.lv/search?hl=lv&q=%22+baby+walkers%22++benefits+mental&btnG=Mekl%C4%93t&meta=
....  Because baby walkers enable precocious locomotion in very young, otherwise prelocomotor infants, walker experience might be conceptualized in terms of early enrichment. However, walker devices prevent visual access to the moving limbs by design. Therefore, prelocomotor walker experience may be conceptualized in terms of early deprivation, reminiscent of that created in a classic series of animal experiments on the critical role of visual feedback in developing motor systems. This study analyzed motor and mental development in 109 human infants, with and without walker experience, between the ages of 6 and 15 months. Walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls, and they scored lower on Bayley scales of mental and motor development. Significant effects of walker type, frequency, and timing of walker exposure were observed. Considering the injury data along with the developmental data, the authors conclude that the risks of walker use outweigh the benefits.

......  All of the infants scored within established norms, the researchers say. Nevertheless, those who used newer-style walkers sat upright, crawled, and walked later than infants who had never used a walker. Infants who used older-style walkers learned to sit and walk at about the same age as the no-walker group, but they learned to crawl at about the same age as the children who used the newer-style walkers.

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sebastian
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« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2009, 05:01:18 PM »

Thanks Frukc for the tip about googling, an activity that i do very very often...
But the idea of this post was about getting personal feedback about the thinking and desicions of those of you that already have to deal with this question...

One thing is the info that i can get from a research from the internet (ex googling   tongue ) and the other is the personal view point and feedback from people of this forum, that's what i'm interested, maybe i didn't explain myself better, if it is, sorry about that.
although thanks for the info (that i've already researched Wink)

Sebastián,



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patreiche
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« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2009, 05:08:11 PM »

We had seen the research and we were not going to get a walker but a neighbor bought it for us a gift even after we asked her not too. She insisted that her child as well as mine used one as a child and there was no problem with them. Her comment was the research was full of it. We used the gift. He walked sooner then other kids with no ill effects. Personally for the amount of time they use one I think it is waste of money that could be spent elsewhere, but the fact that they are dangerous and harmful I think is full of it.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 05:12:39 PM by patreiche » Logged

Ayesha Nicole
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2009, 06:41:21 PM »

Dear All,

Very important topic.  According to our U. S. licensed physical therapist who visited our girls weekly, she strongly advised against using walkers.  The reason is that from a pysically developmental perspective, it can affect the bone and muscular development by placing too much stress on the hips, thus preventing the hip socket to develop properly and can cause bone deformity.  For the physical therapists that allow the child to be in the walker - it is stressed that it be for extremely short periods of time, because the openings of the walkers are further apart than their legs/hips and place too much stress on their developing structures.  Of the physical therapists that we spoke to (three or four), parents should NEVER leave a child in a walker for extended periods of time because it causes developmental problems, in addition to the safety issues.

I feel certain that IAHP is well versed in the scientific literature, and wish they would site their sources in their books and lectures.  That way, parents would have a greater understanding of why they make such recommendations.

- Ayesha

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nhockaday
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2009, 09:24:51 PM »

In my human growth and development course a few couple of years back, my teacher told us the same things as others mentioned above. I would not get one for my son.

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linzy
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2009, 10:08:20 PM »

We had one for my son which he used for very short periods of time, his was height adjustable and very small without the usual extra wide leg spacing..  He walked at 8 months with no ill effects.  The reason we chose to use it is based on a deveolpmental model called "Scaffolding", it is where a parent knows what their child's current physical limits are and then provide the scaffolding for them to attain the next level by offering the support they need to get there and then slowly withdrawling it as it is not needed. It is the same theroy as starting kids doing forward rolls on a wedge  and then gradually transitioning to a flat surface. They can obtain the result faster and their brain can begin to assimilate how it feels, also they are developing the muscles with support. However, many parents use a walker as a babysitter and just leave theri kids in it to tool around all day.  Also there is a very real danger of falling down stairs. So in my opinion they are helpful when used with the end goal in mind, but most often are likely misused.

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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 12:00:23 AM »

just want to share my case, my girl was born with a lose hip (left side), we did bought a walker when she was 9 months, becoz she is a tiny baby, even we put her into the walker her legs can't reach to the floor at that time. About a weeks later she learn to reach 1 leg to the floor and try to move herself and we found her whole body have to move to one side to do the movement. And than we told our paedi, and he told us the walker is not good to baby because mainly when baby moving is only use the lower leg and the seat will harm the baby hip as well. Start from that day i never give the baby walker to her. Although she just start to crawl when she is 12 1/2 months , still can't walk until now (nearly 14 months) and the orthopadfic did told us that her develop is a bit slower than the other baby, but we can't force her otherwise we may hurt her. And we will encourage her to crawl and to climb up the pillow to train her muscle.

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KL
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2009, 02:13:20 AM »

I'm not sure whether all the research etc. is legitimate or 'full of it', but we decided to avoid it.

We focused on crawling, since that's far more important than walking (from a brain development point of view), and wanted crawling to be Felicity's only way of mobility.  The only similar 'toys' or 'aids' we used were:

- 'Baby Jumper' (those you hang on a door frame to let them bounce) - she used it a lot around 4-7 months.  This was to develop her leg muscles

- 'Walking assistant' (where the child would use it as support while she walks) - she used it when she was around 11 months, and loved it.


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