Walker V. Exersaucer

Updated on March 18, 2011
L.A. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
14 answers


our five month old loves to "stand" and to "pedal his feet". He isn't happy in his swing, insists on being upright, and hasn't managed a crawl. I'd love a walker, but I remember hearing these were dangerous.

A bit more about us. we live in a 2 bedroom apartment. with all hardwood floors. There are no stairs to contend with. DS is our one and only. We haven't any pets. I'm back to work full time. Hubby is in grad school. Hubby and my parent's split childcare while I am at work.

1. what are the safety concerns?
2. would you recommend a walker or exersaucer?
3. what features should we look for?
4. do these hinder proper walking/ crawling?
5. do they accommodate smaller children? (our son is at 5% weight and 50% height)?
6. do they grow with the child?
7. are there any which fold neatly away?
8. if we decide to use one, when will baby outgrow it or tire of it?

as always, thanks for all your help.

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answers from Chicago on

Lots of walkers are flexible and adjustable to your child.
It does not hinder their development. Mine was on a walker from 6mos on. He was just raring to go from the beginning, and the exersacuer only entertained him well for about a month.

We had a couple. One from Fisher Price had different levels of height adjustability, as well as the top came off for when he wanted to just play on the floor. It locked, too, for if you wanted him to stand still.

It lasted us for about 3 months. Once he started walking well on his own, he wanted nothing to do with it.
I don't think we'll even get it out for our daughter. We have play table (Fisher Price, Baby Einstein) that is great for standing and cruising. I think we'll just stick to that for DD.

Walkers got a bad wrap many years ago because of a few irresponsible parents that weren't watching their kids (one walked into an open fireplace).
Gate your stairs, babyproof, and supervise. They're just fine!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Walker wasn't recommended by our pediatrician as we have stairs at home. Also, I have heard something about problems later on while walking on their own in babies who use walker a lot. I hate those push style walkers. Not safe at all. The ones where you can have baby kinda sit inside looks much safer. And isn't 5 months too early for walker? I am not sure about that (ask your doc) but I would wait couple more months to buy a walker.

We bought baby einstein exersaucer (Around the world, I think) for our son .It keeps him entertained for a while and peace of mind for M. because I know he is safe in there. Yeah he did get bored with all the toys very soon. I give him his other toys while he is in there if he doesn't want to play with the exersaucer toys. He can turn around 360 degrees and also bounce, so he likes that. Also exersaucers are portable. I take it upstairs and use it while getting ready for work in the mornings or even in the restroon when I need to take a shower while my husbands not home to take care of the baby.But yes it takes up some space. There are height adjustments so it grows with baby. My son loved this initially. He didn't know which toy to play with , he would get so excited and scream. Then couple weeks later he was already bored, he would start crying when he realized I was putting him in that. He wouldn't even bemd his legs to get in there. I thought it's a waste of money. But then few weeks later he got back to enjoying it for a while. He is tall (30 + inches) now at 10 months and still uses it. I read somewhere that its bad for their legs to be in an exersaucer too for a long time , so 20 mins is the max I let him be there initially.

Also, check Jumperoos. I have heard they are lot of fun. I was too worried about it hurting his legs(I dont think it does, but I just worry a lot)

Anyways I think your baby will enjoy all these more when 7 months or so. But you can buy now so that you can get more use out of these toys.It's lot of money for few months of use. lol.

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answers from Austin on

Our daughter walked unassisted at 6 months.. She loved the walker she has never had a problem from each.. We like you have all wooden floors. We also had doors in and out of every room, so we were able to block off any areas we did not want her wandering into.

,She also LOVED the doorway jumper.

FYI.. anyone that tells you early walking is bad for children... it is all an old wives tale. My husband also totally walked unassisted at 6 months. Our daughter was always an active child always an honors student even a National Merit scholar.

There was no way to stop her.. We always followed our child's needs and NEVER underestimated her abilities..

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answers from Pittsfield on

My baby LOVED the Fisher-Price Jumperoo.


If you scroll down a little, they have a little video that gives you a better idea of how big it is and its features.

I don't know if space is a concern in your apartment, but another option is the kind of jumper that hangs from a door frame. I've never used one, though so I can't give you much info. about it. I'm not even sure what they're called. Hope this helps :)

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answers from New York on

1. in your case, the possibilty of being able to reach something and pull it down on top of her, like a table cloth.
2. either is fine, my kids had a walker
4. I do not belive that they hinder walking/crawling in any way. I've heard otherwise. I look at it this way, all my friends and I had walkers when we were little and were fine now
5 & 6 - I think it depends on the model/brand. Most of them are made to be raised or lowered with 2 to 5 settings
7. the walker I have folds down, it wouldn't exactly say neatly - I don't know of an exersaucer that folds down
8. depends on your child and their size and development

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answers from St. Louis on

I have a walker yep, with wheels. We live in a 2 story house so we have steps. We keep all doors to the steps closed and only use the walker on the ground floor. My ds loves to follow me around while I clean, cook, etc... They adjust to how tall your child is with several settings and mine folds almost flat for easy storage. We choose not to by an exersaucer because I didn't want to have to drag it from room to room during the day. My ds is 7 months old and walking just fine. The doctor recommended against the walker because of the stairs, but we are extra careful around them.


answers from Los Angeles on

Do they even sell walkers anymore? A decade or so ago my SIL put all her kids in walkers and then describes how they all wrecklessly smashed themselves into anything thinking they were invincible when first walking without one. I have a Jumparoo and love it. Consider your peace of mind as well. You will find that setting your baby in a stationary excersaucer or Jumparoo is a great way to get a few more things done around the house without worring your baby will find herself in danger.
If space is a concern look into the evenflo jump and go. They hang from a door jamb or beam. We have both and she likes both. But the Jump and go stores in a closet.http://www.walmart.com/ip/Evenflo-SmartSteps-Jump-Go-ABC-...



answers from Washington DC on

We did the exersaucer because I didn't want her mobile. I wanted her to use push toys or something like that to learn to stand and walk. I also didn't leave her in it (nor did the daycare) for hours and hours. It was great when I was cooking, but she got a lot of crawl-time, too. She loved to bounce and spin in her "command center".

I would invest in one with a lot of good toys. The Exersaucer brand has interchangeable toys so if one breaks or the kid doesn't like it, get a new one. Ours grew three levels, and could rock or be still, and will fold to be relatively short and portable.

She still technically likes it, but she really outgrew it around a year to a year and a half, but every now and then she climbs back in (we leave it out for friends' kids to visit).



answers from Kansas City on

I spoke with my Parents as Teachers rep about walkers a while back and she said the biggest issue is that it can hinder proper development for walking. I know there are exceptions to that rule and people use them and their kids are fine, but I think professionals don't recommend them anymore because of this reason. From what I understood, it sort of encourages that tip-toe walking and the other muscles don't develop properly. We had an exersaucer and yes, they do take up a ton of room, but it's worth it. I think my kids used it for a few months, probably from about 4-7/8 months of age, and they were done with it.



answers from Milwaukee on

Neither! Check out the Around We Go from Bright Starts (http://www.brightstarts.com/aroundwego/). It is so cool!! Instead of being in the center and just spinning in small circles in the exersaucer, the table is in the middle and the chair is on the outside. Your kid can run laps!! Really, they can. It can lock in to place at two different sections (piano and snack tray). Unlike an exersaucer, when your child doesn't need the seat anymore, you can remove it and you still have the center as a play area for them. It really was one of the best things my kiddo ever had.



answers from Dallas on

I would recommend an exersaucer. We had both a walker and an exersaucer with both of our children. I didn't really have safety concerns. And with the short amount of time they spent in the walker I wasn't overly concerned that it would adversely affect their walking. Both of our children were smaller too. It took a while for them to grow into the walker. Even on the shortest setting, they weren't quite tall enough to reach. By the time they could reach, they were almost walking on their own anyway. The other issue, is that for some reason, our kids only managed to push themselves backwards. Then they would get stuck or frustrated or cry. Our neighbor's son had the same issue. We traded walkers to see if maybe using a different walker would change the outcome and it didn't. And the walker did not have enough to keep our kids entertained for long...it was a glorified snack tray. Our kids were early walkers (my son at 9 months and my daughter at 10). After they started walking, they wanted nothing to do with the walker. The exersaucer was a life saver!!! Ours bounced just a little. ANd had lots of things to do and play. We had a leapfrog version. We used our exersaucer, my SIL used it for both of her children and a friend used it and just passed it on to her friend...we put some miles on it. Baby got some independence, got to practice standing. It kept them entertained while we got things done. And since it wasn't overused, they never seemed to tire of it. We used that until the kids were about 13 months or so. Until they learned to crawl out. The bad part to the exersaucer is that it's larger and does not fold away. We just learned to love it for a few months. Our children also used it to stand up and cruise around the outside. HTH you decide!


answers from Chicago on

I chose an exersaucer and a "door hanger" bouncy seat... did not go with a walker doc said they hinder the walking, not sure if it is true or not but I liked those two options better... door hanger is great for when you are doing laundry, shower, cooking etc depending on where your doorways are mine were perfectly located ... it hangs over the door molding or what ever those are called ... saucers grow taller as they do and they can bounce in them too and my son could do a full 360 in his too!

mine was cheaper at once upon a child ...


same for this too!



answers from Chicago on

The issue with the walkers isn't just stairs; it's that the baby can literally wheel himself into trouble - like over to the coffee table where a hot drink might be sitting...or into the kitchen near the hot stove...or into the bathroom where your straight iron might be plugged in...I know it sounds a little absurd, but babies can be quick and it's always better to be cautious than sorry.

We used an exersaucer...the fisher price jumparoo. Both of my kids loved it. Although my pediatrician says that any device used to assist the baby in sitting or moving can hinder the rate of their natural development. They like the exersaucer to be used no more than about 15-20 minutes a day, and the rest of the time the baby should be playing on the floor where he can develop his core muscles - lots of tummy time to help this. That said, we did use the jumparoo more than 15 minutes a day...not excessively I'd say but certainly about an hour to 1.5 hours some days broken up into a few play sessions. My son did sit, crawl, and walk late (9 months, 11 months, and 15 months respectively). However my daughter sat up at 5 months and walked at 11 months, so she was right on target. It does put away easily and is a breeze to assemble. There are other good ones on the market too. Just stay away from the mobile walker imo.

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