Baby walkers are seemingly harmless devices that offer fun to little ones and their parents alike. However, hospital emergency rooms treat more than 2,000 babies a year for injuries stemming from these walkers, and now, American pediatricians are calling for a ban (Cohen, 2018).
“I view infant walkers as inherently dangerous objects that have no benefit whatsoever and should not be sold in the U.S.,” Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, a pediatrician who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, told NPR.
While the walkers are supposedly meant to encourage babies to walk on their own, the fact of the matter is that they render users to severe accidents. Many babies end up walking down dangerous paths or tumble down flights of stairs, leading to injuries.
New Data on Baby Walkers
In the latest study related to these baby walkers, more than 230,000 children under 15 months old in the U.S. were treated in the emergency room for injuries such as skull fractures between 1990 and 2014.
So why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission actually did take action back in 2010, strengthening requirements on manufacturers of these walkers. Some walkers were required to have brakes in order to prevent babies from falling. Injuries dropped 23 percent within the first four years of these regulations going into effect, but it didn’t eliminate the problems entirely.
“Despite this great success, there are still 2,000 children a year being treated for injuries, many of them serious injuries, in emergency departments,” Dr. Gary Smith, the study’s senior author and the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told NPR. “Therefore, we support the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics that baby walkers should not be sold or used. There’s absolutely no reason these products should still be on the market.”
Baby Walkers: To Use or Not to Use
The jury is still out on whether baby walkers should be used, according to parents. But as it goes with all toys that babies utilize, adults should always read the instructions and safety warnings. In the event of an injury stemming from a baby walker or a different toy, medical attention should be sought immediately.
Cohen, Ronnie. “As Injuries Continue, Doctors Renew Call for Ban on Infant Walkers.” NPR. Retrieved Sept. 17, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/09/17/646413330/as-injuries-continue-doctors-renew-call-for-ban-on-infant-walkers