Are baby walkers safe?

Answers from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.

Baby walkers — devices designed to give babies mobility while they're learning to walk — can cause serious injuries.

For example, babies who use baby walkers might:

  • Trip and fall over
  • Roll down stairs
  • Trap a finger
  • Be burned, poisoned or otherwise hurt after reaching for a dangerous object

Even new baby walkers — which typically use brakes to prevent falls and are too large to fit through doorways — can still lead to serious injury. Research also suggests that use of baby walkers can actually delay when a baby begins to sit, crawl or walk unassisted, as well as slow a baby's mental and motor development.

Don't allow your baby to use a baby walker and make sure that your baby's other caregivers don't use baby walkers, either. Instead, consider using a stationary activity center, play yard or playpen. These devices will allow your baby to play safely as he or she learns to sit, crawl and stand.

Jul. 09, 2013