Walker, but is it really essential? All the pros and cons

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
Author and references

Contents

  • 1 What is the walker
  • 2 What is the walker for? 
  • 3 Why not use the walker
  • 4 Tips for using the walker
  • 5 Walker: which one to buy

Until a few years ago, the walker was a real "must", an object present in all homes where there was a child struggling with the discovery of the world. And, if you think about it, its convenience would seem obvious: when an 8-10 month old baby starts to crawl or stand up, what better way than placing him in the walker to allow him to move a little better? With the benefit - among other things - of the parents who do not have to hunt him every second because he does not remedy some bumps.



In reality, things are not quite like this and, in recent times, the use of the walker is no longer in vogue. And this is for health and safety reasons. Yes, because most pediatricians and child development specialists agree that the walker is an obstacle to the natural growth of our children. And now let's see why.

What is the walker

As you all clearly know, the walker is a structure with wheels to which a seat is attached, a kind of panty in which to put the child who is starting to take his first steps, but who is not yet autonomous and cannot walk. The more modern ones are “equipped” with a shelf in front with toys, such as puppets, colored balls that the child can turn or buttons to press and start the music.

What is the walker for 

The goal of the walker should be to help the baby learn to walk or at least take the first steps, placing one foot in front of the other. Experts, on the other hand, argue that the walker does not favor the harmonious maturation between the ability to perceive reality, the desire to move and the actual ability to do so.



Why not use the walker

Let's go to practice. Being in the panty, the baby does not develop a sense of balance. Unless it overturns (and it can happen), the walker prevents the baby from falling, which is an important "lesson" because it allows him to understand what can happen to him and what his limits are, to be a little more cautious and to learn from his mistakes. Of course, we all worry about our children's falls, but especially when they are small they are necessary. It sounds crazy, but it's not.

Another problem with the walker is that the baby's posture is not healthy. In addition to being with the legs half open (and for the hips it is not the best), the little one stands on tiptoe. And that's not a good thing either.

A sharp no to the walker came from the American Academy of Pediatrics and in Canada they are even banned. In short, it would seem much healthier to leave the little ones on the ground, to crawl as long as necessary and free to be able to get up or take their first steps, for example by pushing their stroller or a small chair. Obviously they should not be left completely alone. And here we come to the point: the walker is comfortable for parents who are not forced to stay bent over their children or sitting on the floor.

Tips for using the walker

In any case, if you still decide to use it, perhaps at certain times of the day, try to respect some rules. First of all, never go too far: children can be lightning-fast, especially in pranks. A moment of distraction is enough and they can set off quickly towards the stairs or the lit fireplace or pull the tablecloth off the table, with everything on it. Or, again, in an attempt to catch the cat's tail, they could end up upside down with the whole walker.



Walker: which one to buy

If you want to make this purchase, choose safe models, which are certified and approved according to current regulations. There should be no easily detachable parts (including paints) or locking mechanisms that children can put their fingers into. There are walkers that have a particular safety mechanism that blocks them near a step. Fundamental to avoiding accidents.


Text updated on 12 August 2022

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