Experience/Opinions On Walkers?

Updated on April 20, 2009
N.L. asks from Holmes, NY
67 answers

My daughter is almost 10 months old and about 2 weeks ago or so, she REALLY figured out how to dart all over the place in her walker. She absolutely loves the freedom of mobility and we love that she has it because it's also relatively safe to have her in it. Plus we give her her little snacks and what-not. She's only on the bottom level of our home in it and of course we stay aware of her at all times.

But my Doctor (yesterday) strongly advised against it. He says it's been not reccomended for the past 20 years. (which BTW, why do they continue to sell it then?). He says they are more likely to get hurt (fall down stairs), walk on their tip toes (I admit, she does) and delays walking. But I'm having a hard time seeing any of this as a real problem. What do you other moms think??

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So What Happened?

WOW! I have to say I NEVER anticipated So many responses and such a wide range! But I Really appreciate it and it really did help me form my solid opinion. I won't entirely take her Walker away just yet but I will definitely introduce the push-walker thing b/c we do have one, I've just been nervous to use it. Bottom line, I will definitely reduce and limit her use of the walker but I'll let her have a little fun in it every so often as needed. Thank you ladies!

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E.E.

answers from New York on

Here is a good reason why she should not use a walker. As a baby I walked on tip toes and the habit continued whenever I was barefoot as a young child. As I got older and started running track and cross country, I always had tight calf muscles and soreness in my achilles tendon. Eventually I got tendonitis in my achilles and I had to take a few weeks off from the season. The doctor said it was probably because walking on my toes as a baby had permanently shortened and tightened my achilles tendon and now that I was running so often I was irritating it. I had to do some physical therapy and to this day, even though I am not an avid runner anymore, if I walk a lot or run I notice some soreness. It's the same thing that happens to women who wear high heels all the time.
Also see this recommendation from the American academy of Pediatrics:
http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_Walkers.htm

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M.D.

answers from New York on

hi N.

walkers are fabulous. my daughter used it b/f started walking.my name is M., & this is more of a networking response. i'm 34yrs old with a 15mth old daughter. i'm also an RN. My email add is [email protected]____.com

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J.M.

answers from New York on

I have 2 kids 3 1/2 and 1 and I used walkers with both of them even though the doctor advised me against it. My son walked at 91/2 months and my daughter at 101/2 so I don't think it delays walking and both my kids loved it. My son walked on his tip toes occasionally but nothing that was a problem. I say if it works and there is a gate up and she is having fun, go for it.

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G.Y.

answers from New York on

Go for it! My daughter was in her walker at the same age as yours and by 10 months she was walking on her own without walker and she was fine. The walker gave her that freedom and taught her how to walk without holding my hand. I recommend it and never listened to my doctor, i go with my motherly instinct!

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A.D.

answers from New York on

Hi N., I have raised 5 children and now have 3 grand children. They all used walkers and are fine. I have never heard that they are not recommended. As long as you know that your child can not get to a staircase (they sell gates) and can get over doorway saddles etc. I can't see why they are not safe. Why would it dalay walking when it shows a child how much fun it is to get around???? Beats me... well there is my 2 cent opinion! Grandma Mary

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C.M.

answers from New York on

Hi, N.,
I remember reading those same things about the walker, in parenting mags. when may 2 yr. old was that age. I used the walker. She loved it. No matter what kids are in or do, you will be watching them for the rest of their lives.(they are mostly worried for saftey reasons) Thank god my daughter never got hurt, she was fully walking at 10 1/2 mon. and does not walk on her toes. My only advice is to do what you feel is best. And don't tell the doc. everything. LOL! Goodluck!

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G.S.

answers from New York on

I have 2 girls 4yrs old & 10 yrs old - if i listened to their pediatrician or what everyone else said about everything, i would've died of sleep deprevation from our oldest - we were told never let the baby sleep w/u, well when it's 4 in the morning & u haven't slept in 3 days u do what u need to - both of my girls had a walker on the lower level of our house & neither of them were delayed in walking - as long as there are no steps, i didn't find anything wrong in it - sometimes u have to do what u feel is right for ur child - not what is right according to statistics - good luck!

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A.H.

answers from New York on

I used one for both of my kids...Just watch them at all times.. make sure doors are closed.. My kids are perfectly fine. I also used the excersaucer.. but they loved being able to move around. I love the walkers. Kids get hurt falling down stairs.. just make sure they cant get to the stairs!!! let your child enjoy..

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K.R.

answers from New York on

Hi N.-
My son loved the walker. he would explore all around the house. I understand that pediatricians don't recommend them because of safety issues. If you watch your child closely (which I'm sure you do) and it makes your daughter happy, then I would use it. I think it teaches toddlers how to walk faster.
Hope this helps-
K.

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R.R.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
I have raised 5 children currently ages, 26, 15, 13, 8 and 4. All used a walker. All walked on there own before age 1 year. One did fall down stairs after he pulled the gate out of the door way to stairs. No injuries we were lucky. All of my children were on the upper half of the tall scale, my 3 oldest boys never had a problem with tippy toes which can be a problem. My two girls were shorter at the age I let them go into a walker so I bought an adjustable walker that could be adjusted to there growth. You do want there feet to be flat on floor. If your little girl is on the short side then only put her in for short periods of time. My children didn't have any development problems at all. All had fine motor and strong muscles especially the son who ripped the gate off the doorway. It depends on your child and if you see any concerns as she is developing.

Hope this helps,
R.
Mother of 5 healthy children

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

Your doctor is correct and he is backed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. they strongly recommend against walkers. That being said, someone gave me one and my daughter used it a little. We used it in the basement so there was so stairs issue. But we didn't use it very much - maybe 10 mins a day. She walked at 10 months, so her desire for it or a walk behind was pretty limited. If you really limit use to only a few minutes and supervise the entire time, then it is likely okay but your doc and my doc and all those other docs are indeed correct. We would all likely do better without this particular toy.

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D.G.

answers from New York on

My pediatrician suggested we not use the walker. He told us it can stunt their walking development b/c they are not able to see their feet as they take steps. However with that said we had already purchased it for our 9 month old son and figured since he loved it we would take our chances. We only used it while we were in the kitchen to keep him safe and occupied while I prepared dinner or did the dishes, etc. He walked by 12 months and is running now at 15 months so it may depend on the time they spend in the walker. I suggest limiting the time to just 20 minutes a day or less and ensure there are no stairs to avoid injury.

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S.W.

answers from Buffalo on

Hey N., I know you've recieved lots of advice but I'd just like to say that I put both my 7yr old daughter and 4yr old son in a walker when they were little and never had any issues. I did however, put them in their walking shoes to try and keep them from walking on the tippy toes. My daughter took her first steps w/out help when she was 12 months exactly (on her birthday if you can believe such a thing) and my son took his first steps alone at 9 months.
I say do what you feel comfortable with.

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K.N.

answers from New York on

From my understanding, the main concern with walkers is the hazards they pose (i.e., falling down the stairs). If she's not near any open staircases, I don't think I would be too worried. I have a ranch, and if my doorways were even, I would get one for my daughter. I'm pretty sure that most of us had walkers, and I don't think that our walking was delayed as a result....I would just be careful of the staircase and any other uneven flooring.

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C.R.

answers from Syracuse on

I think this like so many other things is a personal choice, yes there is risk(not just at babies level but above...what they slam into and below..what they could trip over/not to mention the kitchen) but there is a level of risk in almost everything we do with are kids(swimming/biking/driving/grocery carts)...if you're worried and want to listen to your doctor but don't want to give up the walker buy a bicycle helmet for the kid...like so many things in life...MODERATION is the key. the child shouldn't always be in the walker and when the kid's not in the walker it should be kept out of the her reach(yep, I learned that one the hard way...stupid thing rolls)...I have 5 kids and I used the exersaucer for the first three/jumperoo for the 4th and a walker for #5(basically because it had fewer bells and whistles and was easier to clean)all my kids walked between 10-13 months...none walk on their tippy toes now...you'll have to decide for yourself whether or not the reward is worth the risk...I'm sure you'll find plenty of support for both sides, but in the end...it's your kiddie. Best of luck!

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S.F.

answers from New York on

It sounds to me that you have already made up your mind but are looking for the reassurance that you are doing the right thing. As I am finding out more and more myself- almost every decision we make as parents is based on what we feel is right, which in some cases may not match what the doctors or "experts" think. I think that if you feel that your daughter is safe in her walker and that you are doing what you can to ensure that then it should be fine. And of course that she isn't in her walker all the time..as mentioned before moderation is key. IMO, time outside of the walker will allow her to figure out how to walk without it so I think it is important but if she finds the walker fun then allow her to use it if only just for that purpose. I don't know if a walker will help a child learn to walk faster or not. I didn't use one for my daughter but I didn't have the money or the space to accommodate another piece of baby equipment! I think what matters most is that you feel confident in which ever decision you make. Good Luck.

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T.W.

answers from New York on

N.,
Follow your own instincts. I used a walker for 4 of my kids, #4 was born with a tibia torsion and required being in leg braces. The other 4 kids did just great with the walker. I do agree that you have to be careful when using a walker. My brother's son fell down a flight of stairs a few times because people did not close the door behind them. Also the one thing that I didn't pick up on was thresholds between rooms, my oldest son got going down the hallway in his walker and hit the ceramic threshold in the bathroom doorway. Needless to say he and the walker tipped over and he cut his lip open as well as got a bump on his head; nothing a popcycle and lots of love didn't cure, but still we learned to be more aware of the little things that could cause then to tip over. As long as you keep a close eye on your daughter, she will do just fine in the walker. By the way I also used a Johnny Jump Up before the babies were able to stand up, it helped build muscle tone in their legs and believe it or not, arms too, plus they learned to control their upper body much sooner. For our 2 youngest we had the Exersaucer as well. Now that was great when I had to run downstairs for something or wanted the older kids to entertain their brother while I did some chores in another room, ate, etc.
Hugs,
T.

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P.K.

answers from New York on

Walkers are a great thing. They are not dangerous. What
s dangerous is when people leave doors open, etc. Walkers
allow freedom. As far as tippy toe walking, do not leave
her in for long periods of time. I do not think it delays
walking. I had five children, all who used a walker, and
everyone was walking by their first birthday. Hope this
helps.

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K.H.

answers from Utica on

Hi N.,
My children all loved their walkers. You do have to be careful of them falling, but not just down the stairs. Our son was tall enough that he reached down to pick up a toy off the floor and tipped over, split his gums open. Gums bleed terrible. I learned that there was a height recommendation for walkers even 37 years ago. None of mine were in walkers by 10 months, even the twins were too tall by then, and mobile. It is the top heavy thing, like falling into the toilet or the bucket. Our oldest didn't walk til 14months, younger boy walked at 7 months(don't think the walker delayed him, he was crawling at 5 months) The twin girls walked at 11 months, Sarah the day she turned 11 months and Rachel the day before their birthday.
The other thing that I want to mention is that you do want to have your children crawling, something about crawling develops their reading skills, so say the experts. So once mine were mobile in any form they no longer used walker.
That is my experience. Girls are 18 years so don't have current info, just thought you would enjoy thoughts.
Our younger son is having our first grandson in August, and he said that walkers are outlawed in Canada, and the Canadians can't understand that we still sell them.
God bless you and all your decisions
K. -- SAHM for 37 years, married 38 years, and soon will have an empty nest for the first time.. married in Sept, first son born in July that year, the twins leave for college in the fall. I think we are ready, at least as ready as anyone is.

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T.F.

answers from New York on

I've only read the first few responses, but it looks like I'm going to be "odd woman out" here.

N., if you trust your child's doctor, I would do as he suggests. Isn't that the point of having a professional, who presumably knows more about child development than you do, give you advice? My doctor (whom I adore) also told us to avoid walkers, which we did.

My guess is that nobody is going to write in to tell you that they "allowed" their precious child to fall down a flight of stairs in a walker...but it happens. Nobody is going to tell you about their child's hip problems (one of the reasons to avoid walkers), because it looks bad for the parents. So please take all of the advice you're getting with a grain of salt. I agree that you undoubtedly know your baby better than anyone else. That said, your doctor knows her better than all of us random moms.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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S.K.

answers from Albany on

Hi N.,
I just wanted to let you know I used a walker with all 3 of my kids. I only used them on the lower level of my house and I was aware of where they were when they were in it. As for delaying walking my oldest walked at 9 months and my other 2 walked around a year I dont think the walker had anything to do with it. If your daughter is happy I would let her go and just watch her. Your doctor just needed to give you his opinion. Good luck and enjoy your daughter.
Sk
mom of 3 1 boy age 7 & 2 girls ages 5 & 1

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K.D.

answers from New York on

Cosidering the safety warningsm why dont you look at it this way, Even though she may be still be safe and may not have the negative effects they warn about, by not usung the walker, there are certain benefits anyway. Because at her age, she should probably be put down on the floor where she can be practicing pulling herself up on things and ruising (walking holding onto things) She needs to be strengthening those muscles and bulding that balance and working toward her next milestone, walking in her own. I know the walker is convenient because she stays content on her own for longer, But is the convenience of it alone important enough to ignore the warnings? just a thoght...

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B.C.

answers from Rochester on

N., You've gotten a lot of advice, so I just want to say to go with what your gut tells you, even if it's not "what the doctor recommends" -- they are NOT always right!!
Besides, what's right for one may not be for another
You sound like a Mom in touch with her child and you will know what's best for her.
Enjoy her,
B.
P.S. I used one of those saucer things and my kids hated it -- bought a walker at a yard sale and they loved it!!

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J.C.

answers from New York on

I would listen to your doctor. Not only can she get hurt doing the things that he mentioned but she can also start to reach up and pull dangerous things down on top of her. I believe that the gov't is no longer allowing walkers to be manufactured.

Walkers are cute and the kids have so much fun with them but I think parents tend to walk away becuase their kids are so content in them - and that is where the danger is!

She'll be walking before you know it - toss the walker.

Also, do some research on the topic. I bet if you Google "walker accidents" you'll come up with enough scary stories to make an educated decision about it.

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C.H.

answers from New York on

I have three kids and they were all in a walker. they are ages 7, 5 and 1. My two oler ones were walking "normally" by 11 months old and my little one just started. As long as yu have her where she is safe I really don't see a problem. the walkers themselves do not open doors/gates so that they can fall down the steps. If you are comfortable with her in a walker that go ahead and do it. The pediatrician I take my kids to was actually my pediatrician 32 years ago. He said there is nothing wrong with the walker, as a matter of fact it is the best way for the baby to build up the muscles they need to walk. I actually have a friend who did not put her daughter in a walker or stationary entertainer and she is now 15 months old, not even close to walking or standing.

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G.T.

answers from Rochester on

Oh for crying out loud. Look around! Kids have been using walkers for many, many years and very few adults are walking around on their toes! I have 5 kids and 6 grandkids and all of them used a walker and all of them are just fine. And all of them walked by the time they were a year old. I strongly feel it was due to using the walker.

Of course I was careful they didn't get near any stairs or could reach anything that would hurt them. But I had to do that whether they were in the walker or out of it, so it really didn't matter if I used a walker or not.

Use your own judgment with things like walkers. If the baby is happy using it and is safe, then by all means use it. And don't always listen to the doctor about everything. Keep in mind, he may have kids at home but he's out of the house working 10 to 12 hours a day so he's not at home raising those kids. He really doesn't know whats going on.That's why this forum is such a good thing. Here you can talk to mom's that are home raising their kids and get the real scoop on things.

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L.C.

answers from New York on

We used a walker with second son and he started walking at 9-10 months(we did not with our first son since we had carpet everywhere and he did not walk till 14-15 months).I am sorry but the reason they advise against them because of stupid parents that do not have common sense.(the same thing with those take along swings where they said babies got stuck between seat and the frame.....hello ,if you put a mobile baby in it and leave them unattended what do you expect, or tilenol that parents were overdosing instead of asking a doctor for the correct dose). Use common sense!!!!!!!!!!

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S.R.

answers from Albany on

N.,

I know you've already received oodles of advice, but I thought I'd throw you some more ;o)

My almost 3 year-old loved the walker & the freedom it gave him. My 10 month old hated it. However, there are those activity walkers that fold up (made by Fisher Price & Chicco) that have toys on one side & a handle at the top...and my little guy just loves it! The downside is that he's not as "contained" as he would be in a regular walker since there's no seat. Talk about freedom! There are also the push-n-ride ones as well that will last longer, as your little one can drive it around like a car. Those are always a big hit for a first birthday gift!

No worries about the doctor's warning. It's better he gave you the warning than not - it just shows he's doing his job. I was one of those kids that went down the stairs in a walker almost 30 years ago (at the babysitter's, no less!)...but I still put my own kid in one. Does that make me a bad mom? Absolutely not. Like you, and the thousands of other moms out there, I kept my eye on my son at all times while in it, and kept him away from stairs. Gates and door locks do wonders! As long as your daughter also has the opportunity to learn how to walk without the walker, she'll be just fine!

Congrats on your daughter's latest achievement. It's a great time!

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A.D.

answers from New York on

According to my mom, I was one of those kids that LOVED her walker and I started walking on my own at 9 months (do you think I would have walked at 5 months if I hadn't used the walker????) I was a toe walker though, so there may be some truth to that part of the advice (although, I'm not sure what the problem with doing it is).

I think there's not a product out there that's safe to use around the clock or unsupervised, so if your daughter enjoys her walker, and you only let her use it where she's safe, GO FOR IT!

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L.P.

answers from New York on

Hi N..
It was funny reading all the different responses on this one. I have to say though, I am currently living in Europe and they DO still sell walkers.

I had both my sons in the USA and my first we were in America until he was 9 months. He had an exersaucer there and loved it. For my second we left America when he was 5 months and just really starting to LOVE his exersaucer. We could not find one in Europe, so the only other option was a walker. I also at the time remembered that I heard they were dangerous. actually I tipped over as a baby and have a scar on my cheek from falling, but that was like before 1980. The one my son had was so big on the bottom it was impossible to tip over in it. Like anything else we sit our children in or any toy we give them to play with, we still have to watch them!! I also think a lot of it is common sense stuff.

My son loved his walker. Loved ramming into my poor ankles all the time. ha. And he was walking VERY well by 1 year and never walked on his toes...except for fun sometimes.

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A.M.

answers from New York on

im sure you got lots of advice so here is mine. i dont use walkers. its not that i think they are horrible, but you really just dont need one. can she crawl? if so, just let her crawl all around. if not, i would say that her knowing she can move in the walker may hamper crawling. i would also say that the walker may also hamper walking. its not a huge deal, but kids pull themselved up and then just all of a sudden walk. the walker may interupt the natural flow of development.

i would wonder though about the tiptoe thing, as i had that issue myself as a child for years, and my feet turn in slightly. i used walkers as a baby:)

i dont think they are horrible to use if you are supervising, more like i think they are unneccessary and could delay, not prevent, development. excersaucers are great if used properly, as are the doorway jumpers. the walker wont hurt her but it def wont help her, kwim. good luck

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S.S.

answers from Glens Falls on

My son used a walker and he started walking at 11 months. He does not walk on tiptoes, he's 23 month now. We do have basement stairs, but we put a gate at the top of the stairs AND locked the door at the top of the basement stairs.

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K.G.

answers from New York on

I never used a walker for the reason that I did not want ANOTHER baby item in my house. I found the exersaucers kept my kids contained and I just eventually let them roam around as they pleased since my house is an open floor plan and it was easy for me to see them. try a something that does not move or maybe even a pack n play.

K.

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A.A.

answers from New York on

Ultimately it's your decision. Obviously we all used walkers and turned out okay - but then again we drove in cars without seatbelts too.

That being said, I know when my son was younger the doctor would always check to make sure he wasn't walking on his toes. I think toe walking can pose physical development problems. So you may just want to play it safe and get an exercauser or some equivalent.

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L.M.

answers from New York on

Twelve years ago, all the magazines and doctors were advising against it, claiming that it was "dangerous" and why bother because it didn't help you child anyway. The other thing was that the exer-saucers were hitting the market.

It seems that the dangerous part was all common sense. Make sure doors are closed, gates are up, and your child cannot reach anything that she could pull down on her. The other thing was that children weren't getting floor/crawl time.

All the children that I know that used walkers have not had any adverse effects and have all begun walking at normal developmental stages.

If I had a child that age at this time, I would put them in a walker, using precautions and for limited amounts of time.

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K.D.

answers from Albany on

I read somewhere (sorry, can't remember where anymore) that walkers can cause an accident even while ATTENTIVE parents are RIGHT BESIDE their baby. This is not the distracted mommy/no-gate-on-the-stairs situation that you instantly think of. This is more to do with speedy, strong babies scooting along a toy-strewn playroom floor and tipping over. Walkers are near the top of the list of accident causes for infants. The committee that oversees childrens toys (JPMA? AAP?) has been recommending for YEARS that these toys be taken off the market completely. The exception - a push toy that helps stabilize a pre-walking child, while allowing the child to see his own feet. The "experts" think this style of walker doesn't impede the natural learning-to-walk process. And for some reason, it causes fewer accidents.

I think you'll probably have a lot of "go for it" responses on this, as A LOT of babies (and therefore their parents) love their walkers. So I also recommend you google "baby walker" - there's lots of info on this subject.

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A.C.

answers from Albany on

I got an excersaucer at Target that had three legs- one was stationary and two were on wheels. It allowed my daughter to walk in circles but she couldn't actually go anywhere so it seemed safer. She absolutely loved it. I don't remember the brand so you would have to search for it.

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L.L.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

My daughter loved the walker also. She was only in it for a few months. It gave both of us (mostly me)the freedom to do things. The only caution i'd give is to not depend on the walker too much. However long you have her in the walker make sure she's given the same time out of it. Let her explore whether crawling or tiptoeing in her play area. That's when she'll learn to pull herself up and use the furniture to practice walking and before you know it she won't need the walker! Hope this helps.

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J.B.

answers from Rochester on

N.
I know you have a ton of responses but I do have to add my thoughts. I will agree with your doctor- but not just because of the safety reasons but because of the developmental reasons. the spine of a child develops its curves in stages- first the mid back and then the low back and then the neck area. when you place a child in a walker for extended times you are changing the order in which the curves form. You may not notice a developmental change but it can cause back issues in your child when they are an adult. For these reasons I caution the use of a walker.

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L.S.

answers from New York on

They don't sell them in Europe just for the reason your doctor said. If you look on consumer reports, they recommend against them because of the safety issue.

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B.R.

answers from New York on

Both my girls were in walkers since they could hold up their heads, around 3 mos. old. My older walked at 10 mons. and younger decided to crawl first and walked at 12 mos. Neither has any problem, and they are now 22 and 25 and both can walk and run for miles. Relax, as long as there is nothing around her like a step, let her have fun.

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M.W.

answers from New York on

My dgtr loved her freedom at that age. We had a walker for her also - but only used it at night for 30 minutes or so. That was mainly b/c we have an old house w/ 3 stairs leading down into kitchen and it was the only place in the house she could safely be in it - and I actually go some free time w/ my hands and attention!! She was not delayed in walking at all - now she wasn't in it all day either - we did also have the exersaucer that someone else suggested where the baby sits in the seat and can run in circles around the play table - she would get up such speed that she'd tilt the table! Never to the point that she was in danger - but boy could she get going!
But - at 10 mos -she really didn't want to be in the exersaucer too long b/c she realized she wasn't getting anywhere! So - maybe it's if they are in it for most of the day it's a problem? But, if you are using the walker like everything should be, in moderation, I'd say it's probably ok, especially if she's developmentally on track. As far as I ever knew - it was more a safety risk with stairs and such.
P.S. - the more you look - the more you wonder - why are they still selling this, whether for babies or adults!!!

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J.O.

answers from Rochester on

N.
I've got four children all who have been in a walker. My son was a late walker but my three girls have all walked on there own before they were a year old. I've never had one fall down the stairs in a walker or have any thing spilled on them well in the walker. My two year old still walks on her tip toes when she feel like it. Every kid is different and develops different do what feels right to you.

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K.J.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
I find that giving them the "freedom" to walk around in a walker is a good thing (despite the Dr opinion). I have a 16 year old daughter that just loved her walker (way back then!!) and now I have an 8 month old grandson that just loves his walker too. I make sure that he has good walking shoes on his feet and that tends to keep him from tippy-toeing too much. It is fun also to watch him "navigate" and think about how to get from one place to another. I have a center hall colonial house with lots of corners and sometimes he does get stuck, but he usually figures out how to get himself free. As far as them "falling down the stairs", why in the world would ANYONE put their child in a walker at the top of the stairs is beyond me!!
My personal opinion is that if they are secure in the walker and they are figuring out how to manuever it...let them have some fun. It sure beats them being in the floor all the time!!
Hope this helps.
K.

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O.S.

answers from New York on

N. as I always say follow your instincts and what works for you and your family. I don't like walkers or activity centers b/c they truly are only convenient for the parent as you have your child contained therefore you can get a lot done in your house. Trust me we all need this once in a while. However you prevent them from practicing those important skills that allow them to move from milestone to milestone. Actually as you read development books they will tell you not to use them but if you do to limit the amount of time the child spend there. So in short like anything if you do it in moderation is not that bad. Like one of the other ladies said take everything with a grain of salt and do what makes sense to you and while I agree we should listen to professionals as hopefully they know a lot more than any of us do, we really don't have to agree with them all teh time they too could be wrong. So your best bet is to do exactly what your are doing ask others and do some research on your own. Hope this helps.

O.

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J.G.

answers from New York on

Hi N.:

My 16 year old son used his walker, which we kept on 1 level and was nowhere near stairs going down. My 6 year old daughter was given a saucer and used it instead, but only because of the space restrictions. Bottom line, I think you should use whatever works for you and your daughter.

Good luck, J.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

I honestly don't understand why walkers are still sold. My oldest is 13 and I knew the dangers of walkers - that information was out there in the public at that time. She had an exersaucer. She couldn't move around in it, but it was an upright play station and she loved it. Kids in walkers, in addition to falling down stairs, have pulled tv's, lamps, pots, etc over on them. I never considered using one.

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D.R.

answers from New York on

I've read and heard the same things about how they can be bad. However, both of my twins used walkers. I ignored the negatives!!! They absolutely loved them and their freedom. They would chase eachother around and it freed my hands up for some time. I just made sure they had NO access to the stairs or anything they could pull over. You know, the obvious. ANd just limit her time in it. My kids turned 1 just about 2 weeks ago and they both started walking a few days before their birthday. Don't stress about it and just use your judgement.

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J.H.

answers from Syracuse on

I used them for our first - she walked at a year with no problems...I used them with our 2nd, and he walked at 14 months...I never used it with our 3rd, and she's just starting to walk at almost 15 months...

I think they're great...I wouldn't advise putting her in it for hours at a time, but I think the independence they have in them is wonderful.

As long as she's safe from open doors, stairs, etc...I say let her have fun and explore.

Best wishes,
J.

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L.W.

answers from New York on

Hi N., I have two children, my daughter is now 20 and my son is now 16. I can only tell you my exprerience while my children were young. My daughter did use a walker when she was very little she did wind up taking a tumble down 3 stairs in it as she moved faster on wheels than i did on foot. Thank goodness she was not hurt. However she did not actually walk on her own until she was almost 17 months old and that was troublesome for me. As for my son, I never used the walker with him mainly because of the fall my daughter took and he was on his feet before he was a year old. It's just my opinion but i think it's better without the walker. Hope this helps.

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M.S.

answers from New York on

I have twin boys 13 months old. I never used a walker, I used a jumperoo which they loved, but by the time they were 10 months old they wanted to crawl and showed no interest in the jumperoo. One of my boys walked at 11 months and the other at 13 months (he just started a few weeks ago). If you don't use the walker, she'll learn to walk on her own. and she'll love the freedom of crawling and pulling herself up on stuff.

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W.H.

answers from Bangor on

hi N.
Your daughter is now 18 months old. I wonder what you decided and when she walked?? And do you have other children? I am fairly new to mammasource, so wouldn't have seen your original request.
As I read thru the responses, I was surprised to see only 3 people talk about exersaucers. That is what I had with my now 8 3/4 y/o daughter. That way, it had a tray and some toys and she could bounce on her feet and spin around and be upright, without having to be held. And she loved it.
It is amazing how pediatric recommendations change...me and my sibs (42-55 y/o) and their children (17-28 y/o) all had and used walkers and all are fine. But now you can hardly find walkers anymore. And of course they are dangerous around stairs... Common sense with our children goes a long way doesn't it?! W. Huff

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R.S.

answers from New York on

As long as the baby is healthy I dont see the difference, as the yrs have gone on was safe is not and we survived, what was not safe is safe now. it changes minute to minute. So really what is safe? Use common sense. A good sturdy walker is same as long as you use gates. Do not take off the floor and are in the same room with the baby and aware from the stairs with everything baby proofed. As well the baby can hold its head and back. The baby walker debate will go back and forth yr to yr i think if it can help the little ones feel more comfy and less frustrated getting around, then go for it..as long as there comfy.... and used properly....

my 2 cents...
other then that any of those ped acciations will find anything to pick at, like a baby soft wash [email protected]@...u name it they willpick on it..
they are getting out of hand..

want to add with my 4 gids range from 1- 14 no medical or phsycial problems or delays in facts there at the heads of there class mentally and physically...

nd 2 of my babies wa;led wy before one and one even stood art 5 months and one walked at9 monthsish 10 month...he looked so cute..(by himself)
its not the walkers that cause the problems its hte parents who do not educate themselves on the product like any other product
you simply cannot stick the baby in and walk away for hours..

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C.B.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

Here is an interesting, though old, article on this topic

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9501efd71e...

At your childs age, they get into everything. This can be so tedious, but is so important for babies. You may feel you can avoid accidents by staying aware, but I would worry about that the walker prevents more natural ways of moving and exploring. Crawling helps develop trunk and upper body strength needed for control of both gross and fine motor movement later on, and weaknesses can lead to difficulties (and frustration/tantrums in the toddler) down the line. Even if a toddler can just catch up later, I would be concerned about avoiding this. I am opinionated about this because my son has some minor gross and fine motor delays, and, because he has no cognitive delay, he is very aware of not being able to do things he wants to do. He gets frustrated and discouraged. Crawling and climbing are important for babies and toddlers. They get a lot of sensory information that way, including the proprioceptive input that helps them undertand where they are in relation to everything else. Also, toe walking can shorten the Achille's tendon and this interferes with balance.

I'm so glad someone knew about the height requirement as far as safety goes. Have you considered a walking toy like a toddler push cart, something that facilitates cruising but gives your child more freedom about how to use it and allows for more natural movement? I found a cool looking one at fat brain toys.

http://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/knex/toddler_wo...

Of course, in the end, it may not matter at all. It may be more a matter of how much time is spent in the walker, (15 minute increments can add up). Either way, soon enough, your child won't want anything to do with the walker.

I can feel how much you love your daughter, what a great gift! My son is 3.3 years old now, I never get over the awe, the wonder or the worry!

All the best,
C.

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L.P.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,

I have a 3yr old girl, and 15 month old boy. My daughter never used a walker, and walked at 13 months. My son was in a walker at 6 months and walked at 11 months...go figure. I ,too, was given all of the same imfo my from pediatrician with my first. With my second, I new my son was yearning to get around and thought it may help him gain some mobility. Having done the opposite for the two, I really believe they'll walk when they're ready to go. As long as you give her enough time to practice pulling up, standing, cruising, and eventually walking, she'll get the hang of it. I think the danger comes when they're in the walker too much and don't have time to exercise their little muscles. Good luck!

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E.S.

answers from Richmond on

N.,
I have 5 kids and have used a walker with all of them from about 4 months and up, I have never heard the one about is causing them to walk on their toes, none of mine did! My oldest was in a walker very easrly and she walked at 9.5 months so I am not sure the whole "will walk late" stands true! Good luck, I think as a parent if you are being responsible and watching your child to keep them safe there is no harn in using a walker. Mine all enjoyed their walkers much better than the exersaucers, they were able to move around instead of having to stay in one place.

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D.

answers from New York on

I have to agree with your doc. Walkers are not good. And other countries have outlawed them. Canada for example no longer sells them at all. They may actually work against your child. She is at an age where to do things she needs to see what she's doing and she can't see her legs move in the walker. So it could delay her walking. Also, it doesn't help develop the leg muscles needed to walk as the seat in the walker holds her up, and if she's in the walker then she's not crawling either. Crawling is an important stage in child development. Let her do that for a while and then learn to cruise around the furniture in your home. And even though there are no stairs in your home she can still fall over and get injuried. Look at the statistic of how many babies are taken to the hospital each year with head injuries from their walkers. Honestly, get rid of the walker. My son never used one and he was walking by 1 yrs old.

☼.S.

answers from San Diego on

N.,
I see you have so many responses and I'm against the walker, too. But my daughter absolutely LOVED her Jumperoo and I highly recommend one! They are about the size of a full-size swing: http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-J2460-Fisher-Price-Jum...
We have so much fun video footage of her laughing her head off :)

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D.M.

answers from New York on

I used a walker with my daughter. Most children walk on their tiptoes when they are learning to walk, that has nothing to do with the walker. My daughter was walking independently at 9 1/2 months. She's ridiculously coordinated, well above age level for her gross motor skills (always has been). I think if you give your baby plenty of opportunities for a variety of movement activities and don't just park her in the walker for hours at a time (you don't seem like that kind of mom anyways), it shouldn't be a problem. I plan to use it for my 6 month old when she's ready.

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M.O.

answers from Tucson on

I know I was advised against it by doctors and daughters therapists. It does hender walking and strengthening muscles they need. Since my daughter was three months premature she was already very behind so I myself did not use one. I still think it is up to the parent to decide. I know there are not to many walkers left out there but they will continue to sell them as long as people buy them or they are told to stop. Good luck

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J.M.

answers from New York on

I always used a stationary exerciser for my two children. I would never leave them in it for more than 1/2 hour at at time. Just make sure that your home is baby proofed and let your daughter roam around the living room/family room. My son was cruising at 8 months, but didn't want to walk on his own until 13 months. Yet he had the chance to go where he needed to to learn how to cruise. My daughter...walked at 9 months, so she pretty much had free reign! I think as long as you're not putting her in the walker all day and she is in no danger of falling down any stairs, then you're ok. Good luck!

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C.C.

answers from New York on

Use it under close supervison when baby is not out of your sight. Soon she will be walking......

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K.M.

answers from New York on

Well, like you said, if your daughter is always on the first floor, what can happen? I wouldn't worry too much. Your docotr is male and never took care of his babies so much. (Besides, I don't think he had too much time with his family as a doctor.) I have 4 kids and I made it a rule to not taking advice from doctors because I think they are not expert in taking care of babies! Kidding? I think you should talk to some experience moms to get advice about this kind of matter which why you are here for. My kids liked walker also and never had any problem. (They are all less than 20 years old the period which your doctor is talking about)

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M.Q.

answers from New York on

They are not recommended, but I agree with you, so long as the child is safe and happy I wouldn't worry about a little time spend walking on her tippy toes.

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M.F.

answers from New York on

Hi N.,
We go to a play group with serveral other babies and you can tell which ones were given walkers and which were not. In our group the kids who were put in walkers crawl and walk MUCH later (about a 4 to 7 month delay). Walkers can cause so many problems that they are actually banned in Canada. I am sure many people do use them withut a problem, but I didn't want to take the chance with my child.
I hope this helps

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N.M.

answers from Dallas on

Personally, I don't understand why so many people do things that their doctors, the AAP, and leading consumer advocates say are dangerous or harmful to children. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and never bought a walker because I knew there were risks - and why would I take risks with my children, even if the risks were small? I think you've already made up your mind on this, but I decided to chime in because I really do feel strongly on this issue.

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C.K.

answers from Boston on

You have already received A LOT of responses! I didn't read them all but I didn't see this information in any that I read. You might be interested in Magda Gerber's work. Before having my third child I read this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Parent-Caring-Infants-Respect/...

I decided to take her logical advice and not use any of the paraphernalia that helps the kids do prematurely what they couldn't do on their own (exersaucer, jumper, bumbo seat etc). My baby is more balanced than many kids I see, walked before 11 months old and had fewer bruises than his older brother because he catches himself expertly. I think he developed his muscles and instincts so evenly by only doing what he could do on his own that is has shown in his physical movements.
Don't know about long term differences, of course, but I would recommend this path in a minute now having tried it. It makes a lot of sense to me.
Caitlin

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