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The dangers of baby-walkers

The dangers of baby-walkersIn the December 2008 issue of The Lancet, a case report was published about an 11-month old baby girl who, while playing in her baby walker, fell down a flight of stairs and suffered serious head injuries. The doctors involved in the case issued a call to all governments to ban the use and import of baby-walkers on the grounds that baby-walkers present a potentially deadly but preventable hazard to little children. They are not alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly opposes the use of walkers and together with the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, have called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of baby walkers with wheels.

Parents and caregivers may believe that walkers help children learn to walk. Unfortunately, this is not true; walkers can actually interfere with normal muscle development. Whatever benefits the walker brings are very minimal to the risk and dangers associated with it.

The Parenting Corner of AAP lists the following safety issues:

  • Falls – as in falling down the stairs and steps, leading to severe injuries.
  • Burns – babies on walkers can reach much higher, making even a single cup of coffee a hazard.
  • Drowning – babies in walkers can reach a pool, a bathtub, or a garden pond fast – and then fall.
  • Poisoning – again, walkers help babies to reach what is normally unreachable at their age.

These accidents do not only happen when the adults are not looking. Babies on walkers can move very fast and sometimes adults won’t have time to react.

In addition, AAC also gives the following recommendations:

  • Make sure there are no walkers at the daycare.
  • Make sure there are no walkers at the homes of people you are visiting.

It is said that 2000 children die everyday all over the world due to preventable injuries. Walker injuries are preventable. AAP’s parting shot is “Keep your child safe. . .throw away your baby walker!”

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