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Children's health

06th Mar 2024

HSE issues stern warning to parents considering purchasing a baby walker

Anna Martin

baby walker

Baby walkers may seem like a good idea at first

They are marketed as tools for helping your little one get on their feet and take those first steps but all is not what it seems.

The HSE has noted that walkers are a big no-no for your baby when it comes to both safety and normal development.

What are baby walkers?

baby walker
Credit: Getty

A wheeled baby walker is a device that babies, who can’t walk yet (generally between the ages of 6 and 15 months), can use to scoot around spaces on their own.

Traditional baby walkers feature a seat, a table, and a wide base that has four wheels; baby’s feet touch the ground, and they can use their legs to push themselves around.

This is not to be confused with a push-toy baby walker, which is an upright toy that a standing baby can hold onto and push forward.

Why are they dangerous?

In an article published on their website, the HSE stated, “Baby walkers do not help babies learn to walk. They may actually hold up how long it takes for them to learn.”

On top of this, they said that walkers can increase the risks of burns and poisoning as your little one will be able to reach higher than normal and may be able to pull things down from tables.

There is also an increased risk of head injury as the ability to roam can lead to accidents such as falling down the stairs and crashing into furniture.

Your child can still use a baby walker, but the HSE says that it should only be used for short periods and under supervision.

What can I use instead?

baby walker
Credit: Getty

Activity centres and playpens that cannot be moved by your child are safer options.

Sturdy wagons or push walking toys are also acceptable, but you’ll need to closely supervise when your child is using this item, as the wheels can increase the risk of injury.

Make sure your toy of choice has a bar for baby to hold on to, and check that it’s weighted and won’t tip over while in use.