Walker: How to choose the best in 2021
Today we are going to talk about an accessory for babies: the walker. Controversial, the walker has been contraindicated by specialists for some time. But for dads and moms who still want to use the accessory, today there are alternatives.
The current models prioritize playful activities in push walkers, unlike the old ones in which the child was stuck and seated.
In this article, we will show you what you need to know about the walker and the care you must take before buying this accessory.
First, the most important
- The traditional walker is contraindicated by pediatricians because of the risk of accidents and poor muscle development of babies.
- Nowadays there are alternatives like the push walker, which includes activities and playful educational toys.
- We will show you here all the care you need to take before buying the walker.
Baby walker models: Our recommendations
To choose the ideal walker for your baby, it is essential to ensure the child’s safety. Knowing this, manufacturers invest in new models with a playful content. In the following, we will introduce you to the best walker models available on the market today.
- Multicolor 4 in 1 Maral Walker
- Mattel Fisher-Price Walker
- Fly Baby Kababy Walker
- Magic Walker Robot Toys
Much has been discussed about the safety of using baby walkers. The consensus among experts is that this is a product that poses serious risks to children.
But it is possible to guarantee your child’s safety with extra knowledge and care. That’s why we created this Buying Guide with all the information you need to ensure your baby’s safety when purchasing a baby walker.
What is a walker?
The baby walker is a device that was created with the intention of helping babies take their first steps.
Composed of rigid structures, usually in circular shape, the traditional walker has an upper part to support the baby and an open and wide lower part that allows the movement of legs and feet.
In addition, the walker has a set of wheels attached to the structure to enable the device to move in different directions.
Thus, the idea is for the baby to stay inside the walker, erectly, with support to avoid falling. And so, the baby can move his legs to learn to walk.
However, as we will see later, this model of walker has, over the years, been considered to be at high risk, both of accidents and of poor development of babies.
Therefore, nowadays, there are variations of the infant walker. The main one of these variations is the push walker. This model, in addition to leaving the child free and standing with the strength of his own body, contains playful activities coupled to the device.
And, although the risks continue to exist with this walker, some argue that this model is safer for the baby who is learning to balance and walk.
Another type of walker that emerged recently was the belt type. In this model, the child is secured by a structure made of adjustable fabric and the parents hold it by means of straps.
We will talk about each of these baby walker models in detail later in this article. The fact is that the parents’ interest in the walker occurs when the baby begins to show signs of wanting to stand and walk.
When does the baby start wanting to walk?
There is no definitive answer to this question. The fact is that each baby develops in a different way.
And, therefore, the age at which the baby begins to want to stand and walk can vary according to heredity, the stimuli offered and the neurological conditions.
If your baby recently started to crawl, you will need to be patient because he will still need to strengthen himself to start walking. Still, experts say that, in general, children start wanting to walk between 10 and 18 months of life.
When the baby starts to want to stand, it is natural that he looks for furniture to support himself. It is at this stage that most fathers and mothers acquire the baby walker, but here the risks are still great because the child does not have strengthened muscles.
You can then stimulate the baby using safe furniture or the playpen, which is a space with less risk, in case of falls.
Only when babies are stronger and can stand longer can pushers be inserted. Still, respecting the time of each child.
Experts warn that the important thing is not to compare the children’s abilities and also not to force the early stimulus.
Regardless of whether or not you have a walker, the stimulus for the child to take their first steps can and should be done in a natural and playful way.
For example, the father or mother can hold the baby by both hands and encourage the first steps. Another way is to stand a few inches away from the child and let him go to you alone.
In either case, it is also essential that you ensure that your child is wearing non-slip shoes.
Is it safe to use the walker to encourage the baby to walk?
The Society of Pediatrics (SBP) published an article in its electronic magazine in which it states that the walker is “dangerous and absolutely unnecessary”.
In many countries the use of a walker is contraindicated. In Canada, for example, even the walker has been banned since 2007. The fact is that the walker’s contraindication is based on the risk of accidents that this device offers. In addition to the risk of delayed motor development in babies.
According to experts, although the walker offers independence to children, this is even one of the problems of the device. This is because, babies still do not have enough physical and emotional development to manage so much freedom on board the walker.
t is already a consensus among experts that the child’s self-protection ability is only acquired after the age of five. Therefore, a baby trapped in a wheelchair gives a false sense of protection.
In addition, experts warn that the use of a walker can compromise muscle stimulation, delaying natural actions at this age, such as standing and walking without support.
This is because, with the traditional walker, the child ends up using the feet in the wrong way and leaning on the structure to balance himself.
With a push walker, although there is still a consensus that it can cause accidents such as falls, there are still no in-depth studies on the effects on children’s development.
What is the difference between the traditional walker and the push walker?
Despite the recommendations of specialists and pediatricians, many dads and moms still do not give up the walker. Therefore, manufacturers began to invest in versions that eliminate some risks caused by the traditional walker.
As we have seen, the traditional walker keeps the baby stuck and upright in a circular structure with wheels.
With this model, children end up pushing their feet or leaning on the tips of their toes, and this hinders their development. In addition, traditional walkers do not allow children to balance on their own using the strength of their own body.
The fact is that, for children to walk, they need to move their feet correctly and use their bodies to generate momentum. In this way, the baby can balance itself in motion.
The push walker was created as an alternative to avoid the risks of accidents and poor development. The push walker resembles a mini stroller with handles, on which the baby rests, and wheels to facilitate movement.
With the push walker, the baby uses the strength of the body to move the feet. Still, the risk of falls is not eliminated.
For this reason, as we will see later in this article, extra care by dads and moms is essential to ensure the safety of the baby while he is using the walker.
Another difference, however, is that this type of walker usually comes equipped with playful and educational toys. With activities and toys, the walker stimulates the child’s motor and cognitive coordination.
Below, you can see the main differences between the traditional walker and the push baby walker.
What care should you take with the baby walker?
If you dismissed the traditional walker and opted for the push walker, you still need to take some precautions.
First, the baby should only use the walker if he is already able to sit, crawl and stand for a while. To use the walker, the child needs to have the muscles already strengthened.
In addition, while your baby is using the walker, it is imperative that an adult is around to supervise him. This will minimize the risk of accidents, such as falls. Remember that your baby has no idea what is dangerous or not.
In addition, stairs, ramps, slippery floors and risky areas such as the kitchen and rooms with lots of furniture also need to be avoided. It is important that the space is free of rugs or any object that could tangle in the wheels and make the baby stumble.
With an adult around it is also easier to help the child maintain correct posture and footing when pushing the walker. It is also recommended that you do not let your baby spend too much time on the walker. Set a few minutes a day.
And, even if the child uses the walker to practice the first steps, it is essential to encourage him to walk alone.
The baby should only use the walker if he is already able to sit and crawl. An adult needs to be around at all times to supervise him.
The recommendation is that you take turns, between the walker and activities in which the child moves freely.
But you also don’t have to encourage your child to walk all the time. The more time he has to play freely, the faster he will develop.
Therefore, when the child is already steady in balance and steps, you should put the walker aside and motivate him to move without support. In addition, you should be extra careful with the toys that are included in the pushchair.
The activities included in the walker, in general, have parts that fit and move. Therefore, extra care is needed so that the child does not get hurt with these parts or take them to the mouth.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a walker?
As we have seen, there are more cons than pros if we consider the traditional infant walker. The push walker has some advantages.
In addition to allowing the correct use of the baby’s stride and allowing him to use his body’s strength to balance himself, the push walker usually has extra activities.
In general, this model has a table that can even be used on the floor as a play table to create sensory stimuli. Vibrant colors, different shapes and activities also help the baby’s motor development.
In addition, some models even allow learning about numbers and letters. We will talk more about the different types of activities offered by the push walker in the Purchase Criteria.
The disadvantages of the walker, as we have seen, is that, regardless of the model, there is a risk of accidents, such as falls and trauma. In addition, the baby may be delayed or have poor muscle development, which, if left in the walker for too long, may take time to walk alone.
The price of the walker varies according to the model, types and quantities of functions and the activities included. Therefore, you will find walker models that can cost between R $ 15 and R $ 600.
Where to buy?
You will find the walker for sale in children’s and department stores.
We recommend, however, that you buy the walker at online stores, such as Amazon. Thus, you purchase the product from the comfort of your home and still find a greater variety of models and prices.
Purchase criteria: Factors to consider before purchasing the walker
If you have decided to buy a baby walker, you must take into account that there are different models, with different functions and objectives. But then, you may ask yourself: how do I know that I am buying the best model available?
To help answer this question, we’ve listed below the factors you should note before making a walker purchase.
Next, we’ll detail each of these factors so that you can make the right choice.
It is important that you look at the different baby walker models to choose the one that best suits your baby’s reality.
In common, they all abuse colors to stimulate children’s interest. And, as we have seen, there are basically two models: the push and the belt models. Among the push walkers, you will find two types: simple and personalized.
The simple walker is formed only by front wheels and the support handle for the baby to hold. The custom walker varies widely. You can find them in the form of pets, dolls, cars, motorbikes, among others.
It is also possible to find this type of walker with a support seat and the folding type. The most popular models also include educational accessories, either as part of the walker structure itself or in a table format.
But, in addition to the push walker, it is also common to find the belt model, which fits the child’s waist. This walker is made of fabric, as if it were a sling, in which the parents support the child by means of handles.
The advantage of this model is that adults can maintain posture and avoid back pain, in addition to the fabric being comfortable for the baby.
The most modern models of walkers have other functions besides helping the child to walk. In general you will find the walker with functions ranging from two to four.
Some models allow, for example, the walker to be transformed into a seat, which is immobile and is ideal for the child to eat their meals. Other models even have spaces for cups and bottles.
The walker models that have an activity table can be folded to offer up to three functions:
- Play table
- Floor tray
- Tray stuck in the crib railings
Thus, the child can play freely with the activity table in different ways. Some walkers even include the brake function, to increase the baby’s safety while he pushes the walker.
The educational and recreational activities offered on the push walker vary between the models available on the market. They serve to stimulate the child’s motor and visual coordination.
In general, most include many colors, as well as snap-on pieces and audible buttons. The most complete models include activities to entertain and stimulate the creativity of the little ones, for example, mini cell phone with horn, gears, rattle, rotating balls, colorful shapes and with textures to fit.
In addition, you can find walkers that encourage the learning of numbers, shapes and colors.