Sometimes, it is unavoidable for you to buy baby walkers. Even though it poses some safety issues, you still need it to keep your child entertained while you take care of dinner. So what should you look for in a walker to make sure that your baby is safe and secure?
First, do not buy second-hand walkers. If you must, check when they are made and ask the previous owner if it has any certification like “Meets Safety Standards” (ASTMF977-96). This safety standard ensures that the walker is built with a wide base that does not fit through standard-sized doors. Gates with child-proof locks are not enough to keep your child from going through them, and babies usually just ram their walkers through gates, causing them to lose their balance. As much as possible, buy only walkers that are made past 2001 for walkers before that year are made without much thought on infant and child safety.
Check to see if the collapsible elbows are working properly. Nothing is more alarming than to see your fast-trotting little angel falling face or head first because the collapsible elbows suddenly gave way. Make sure that the elbows are not constructed in a way that can cause pinching. A safe locking mechanism should be present to make sure that your baby’s fingers will not get pinched by his walker.
Your baby’s walker must have a safety brake in its wheels in order to prevent your baby from moving to another place while you go and fetch something. But to keep it in mind that this is just a temporary and very short measure in ensuring your baby is safe while out of your sights. Only do so when it’s really an emergency, and when you know you will only be gone for several seconds. Your child may get board or impatient and have it in his mind to follow you. Accidents still happen on a locked walker because the baby either violently shakes the walker in his frustration due to lack of motion, or when the baby tries to reach for something on the floor.
Look for a walker that can be adjusted according to your child’s height. You know you have adjusted the walker perfectly when your baby’s feet can still touch the floor while sitting. When your baby stands, the top should reach your baby’s waist. This lessens the probability of your baby tripping over the walker compared to lower walkers. A high walker will be difficult for your baby to push and can also pose some safety issues for your baby.
When you buy a baby walker, do not keep your baby in it for a long period of time. Allow his muscles to develop by letting him have some tummy time on the floor, or letting him walk assisted without the use of a walker. Make sure that you use the walker only on a flat, level surface to ensure stability safety, and never leave the walker near the staircase, fireplace, and near the kitchen. Block access to swimming pools, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and the backyard. If you have carpets, remove the snags, or have them replaced or removed entirely. Remember that your walker is not a baby sitter or a nanny that can control your infant. You or caregivers are still responsible in seeing to your baby’s safety while inside a walker.