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What Is a Baby Walker?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 23 March 2014
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A baby walker is a device designed to help babies who cannot walk yet maneuver around their homes. The idea behind this concept is that it will keep the baby entertained for long periods of time and possibly give the baby exercise. Most of these walkers are made of plastic with a wheeled base on the bottom. There is usually a cloth seat in the middle of the walker with leg holes for a baby's legs. Most baby walkers have a tray with lots of toys attached to help keep a baby entertained.

People used to believe that a baby walker would also aid in teaching their child to walk. Studies indicate that this may not be true and that frequent use of a baby walker could even delay walking in some children. This is possibly because a baby gets so used to traveling from within the walker that it seems like an easier alternative to actually walking on his or her own. The use of a baby walker may strengthen the lower leg muscles of some babies over time, but these muscles are not considered the most important ones for learning to walk. The muscles in the hip and upper thigh area are used more for walking, and baby walkers do not strengthen these muscles.

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Baby walkers were widely used for years until it was discovered that in addition to not helping babies learn to walk, they might also be very dangerous. The use of baby walkers has resulted in many accidents and deaths over the years. They tend to make it much easier for babies to get themselves into dangerous situations, such as rolling downstairs. They also tend to flip over easily if the wheels get hung up on something and the baby tries to get free. Additionally, the fact that babies can travel around in baby walkers as they please often makes it harder for parents to keep a close watch on where they are, which means they can't prevent accidents as easily.

As a result of the safety concerns associated with baby walker use, many parents are opting for stationary baby activity centers instead. The main difference between a baby walker and a stationary activity center is that the stationary center does not have wheels. It has a seat complete with leg holes, an activity tray, and toys, but there is generally no danger of a baby moving from place to place and getting into dangerous situations. Most pediatricians have begun to advise parents to buy these instead of baby walkers because the walkers tend to be hazardous and do not actually help a baby learn to walk.

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