Baby Walker : is it dangerous?

Toy appreciated by some parents but decried by psychomotricians, the baby walker, also called youpala, is not unanimously appreciated. Numerous alerts and other reticence have cast doubt on the use of the baby walker. Why is it pointed at? Is the yupala dangerous for the toddler? What does the regulation say? What about baby walkers ? Should their use be banned? Parents.fr takes stock of the situation.

In England, almost all the major childcare brands have a walker in their catalog. However, it has been banned in Canada for years, psychomotorists are reticent, and the very serious Consumer Safety Commission regularly warns of the risk of accidents.

Parents, so eager to see their babies take their first steps, may see the baby walker, also known as the baby walker, as the ideal solution to promote walking acquisition.

The baby walker has been around since the Middle Ages and has been constantly modernized. Recent models offer a musical game board and are sometimes upgradeable. The principle remains the same: to seat a baby in a seat suspended from a wheeled support. At the age when he is not yet walking, the toddler moves forward with the tip of his feet and moves around. In fact, the walker is used from the moment he is able to sit up by himself until he can walk well. He thus discovers a great feeling of freedom, to turn, turn, run… as long as he has a long corridor where he can move without embarrassment. Because attention, the trotter is not a toy like the others.

The trotter: a risky toy for Baby?

Data compiled by European and American hospital emergency departments over the last twenty years invariably show that baby walkers are dangerous objects, the use of which leads to thousands of children being admitted to hospital every year.

Baby walkers have been banned in Canada since 2004. In France, they are regularly singled out by the authorities. And the European Child Safety Alliance is campaigning for its ban, because many models do not comply with the French safety standards introduced in 2005, which define safety requirements and test methods.

According to this organization, more than 80% of accidents involving baby walkers take place on stairs where children fall, leading in the majority of cases to head trauma or brain damage. The other recorded accidents are burns, and parents leaving their child playing in the kitchen in their baby walker.

The baby’s learning to walk would be hindered by the baby walker:

Psychomotricians also deplore the impact on the development of walking in young children. Prolonged use of the device can interfere with the natural development of locomotion. Toddlers, who have the impression of walking on tiptoes, move effortlessly and do not really explore the coordination of their arms and legs. Trotting would prevent them from finding their own balance since they find themselves in an upright position at an early age. In addition, since they cannot change position even if they wish to, they get tired quickly and cannot relax their muscles. It is therefore important to consider the walker as a game and not as a walking simulator or a “baby-sitter”. And do not exceed 20 minutes a day.

baby walker
Image par Phúc Mã de Pixabay

Precautions to take with a walker :

If, despite everything, you really want to invest in a trotter, it is essential to take a few precautions. First of all, wait until your baby can sit up on his own. It’s usually around 8 months of age that he’ll be able to naturally find balance in his walker.

Trotter: how to make the good choice :

Choose a model that complies with the European standard NF EN 1273:2005. This requires manufacturers to perform stability tests to prevent babies from tipping over or reaching dangerous objects (hence their wide base and flared shape).

The most frequent accidents with the baby walker :

Be careful not to use the walker near stairs, windows, or sloped walkways. Also keep out of reach of your toddler and keep dangerous substances or objects out of your toddler’s reach. Keep your child out of the kitchen as well.

Finally, even if your toddler is comfortable, never let your vigilance wane and don’t leave him in his walker for more than 30 minutes. These machines should remain a toy, not a seating system. When walking, it is best to avoid rigid shoes. The ideal: socks, reinforced with non-slip soles.

As soon as your child starts walking or picking up speed, stop using the baby walker.

What other toys to stimulate baby’s walking ?

Be aware that each child grows at his own pace and there is no need to skip steps. Your toddler will walk when he’s ready! However, if you want to encourage him to stand up or take his first steps, the play mat and playpen are still the best options. In these safe spaces, your baby will experiment with new postures on his own that will gradually lead him to walking.

You can also choose to use pushers or walking wagons. By using these toys, your child will gradually move forward. Some are even equipped with an activity center, allowing Baby to discover shapes and colors. Attention, only one golden rule. Whatever the chosen object, always keep an eye on your child.