Babywalkers pose safety hazard
Babywalkers allow babies to move about at an age when they aren't developmentally ready for it. In a walker, babies can gain quick access to potentially dangerous objects normally out of their reach.
Most injuries associated with babywalkers are caused by falls down steps, scalds, burns and poisoning from household chemicals.
CHOICE strongly discourages the sale and use of babywalkers. There’s no evidence that they help children to start walking sooner; in fact, they may even delay a child’s first steps. All babywalkers sold in Australia must pass a product safety standard (based on a US safety standard, ASTM F977-00). If you feel you must use one, look for a model that complies with the standard.
Before you decide on a babywalker, consider other products without wheels such as playpens, bouncers, rockers, playmats and playtables, that can entertain your baby.
What to consider if you still want to use a babywalker
- Babywalker-proof your home - block off stairways and put barriers around stoves, heaters and fires.
- Always supervise your child in the babywalker.
- Look for a babywalker that has a 900 mm wide base (which shouldn’t fit through a standard doorway) and/or a brake mechanism to prevent them from being ridden over the edge of steps.
- Ensure all metal parts are smooth and free of sharp edges.
- Check that any locking mechanisms work and are out of baby's reach.
- Remove any objects that may cause the baby walker to tip over.
- Keep items such as kettles, irons and hot drinks out of the way.
- Don't use babywalkers on surfaces where there is a change in floor level. Most accidents happen on steps or stairs.
- Don't use babywalkers if your child can't sit up without assistance.
- Don't use babywalkers if your child can walk unaided.