Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Medical | By

Family Focus: Doctors warn of injuries, deaths from using baby walkers

Family Focus: Doctors warn of injuries, deaths from using baby walkers

Between 1990 and 2014, an estimated 230,676 U.S. infants went to the emergency room for injuries related to baby walkers, according to the study, which was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Alarmingly, 91 per cent of reordered injuries were to the head and neck, while 30 per cent were concussions, closed head injuries and skull fractures.

Over the years covered by the study, the number baby-walker injuries did decrease dramatically, dropping from 20,650 in 1990 to 2,001 in 2014.

A toddler plays outside in this stock photo.These are good parents - they aren't neglectful.

Despite decades of warnings about the hazards of baby walkers, thousands of toddlers still end up in hospital emergency rooms with walker-related injuries, new research shows. That country banned baby walkers in 2004.

A 2002 report from the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program found that 15 hospitals treated 200 injuries per year in the early 1990s, and 100 per year in the late 1990s. They could seriously hurt your child.

"I think people think they are cute and fun", she said, "and theoretically anything you can do to put your kid in something to keep them occupied while you're trying to get things done is a great thing", said Fischman.

Amongst the top of the CPSC's concerns was preventing kids from falling down the stairs when facing the opposite way of a staircase, making sure that walkers were tipping resistant, making sure that walkers could bare the load of a child jumping and bouncing in his or her seat, and occupant retention (making sure that your child wouldn't be trapped in the seat by leg holes that were too small).

The study also found that injuries were 23 percent lower in the four years after the 2010 federal safety standards were implemented than in the four years before.


"Despite the successes we have seen", Smith said, "these are still a source of serious injury to children that's preventable, and therefore they should not be on the market".

To many parents, they seem like a safe and easy way for babies to get around, but infant walkers create so many injuries each year that the American Academy of Pediatrics called for a ban Monday.

Previous studies have suggested they do the exact opposite, briefly delaying mental and motor development.

In light of this, Smith said he supports the American Academy of Pediatrics' call for a ban on the "manufacture, sale, and importation of baby walkers".

In addition to recommending against the use of the devices, the AAP urges parents to dismantle any baby walker in their households before tossing it into the trash.

"I have commonly heard the words from parents who brought their child to the emergency department after an injury in a baby walker, 'Doctor, I was standing right there, but she moved so fast that I did not have time to stop her.' These are good parents, who were carefully supervising their children and using the baby walker as intended", he said. "Their only error was that they believed the myth that baby walkers are safe to use".

Findings of the research have been disclosed in the journal Pediatrics. It suggests parents throw away walkers in their homes and entertain their children in stationary activity centers and other activities.

"There are safer alternatives that young children enjoy", Smith said, "such as stationary activity centers that spin, rock, and bounce, but do not have wheels that give young children risky mobility".

The study was published online September 17 in the journal Pediatrics.

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