American pediatricians have been calling for walkers to be banned since many of 2018's new parents were children themselves. Though watching babies scoot around in their walkers is adorable, the sad truth is that doctors treat more than 2,000 babies each year for injuries sustained while using them.
I view infant walkers as inherently dangerous objects that have no benefit whatsoever and should not be sold in the U.S.
From 1990 to 2014, more than 230,000 children under 15 months old were treated for "skull fractures, concussions, broken bones and other injuries" that occurred while using baby walkers.
@voxdotcom never had a problem with them but my parents and all of us were wise enough to keep them away from stair… https://t.co/cikj6P1dHz— 🌲🌿🌞🌎🖊️Rover223 (@🌲🌿🌞🌎🖊️Rover223)1537316358.0
Walkers are designed to let babies who haven't started walking on their own roll around on four wheels, but the babies haven't yet developed the motor skills to control their movement precisely, and often find themselves taking dangerous paths or even falling down stairs.
@BuzzFeedNews No parent should buy these contraptions. https://t.co/1X84iczpub— Zap Beeble (@Zap Beeble)1537348886.0
Many consumer groups joined doctors' calls for a ban all the way back in 1992, which has led to a sharp reduction in the number of injuries caused by walkers, from 21,000 that year to only 3,200 in 2003. The situation further improved in 2010 when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated several security improvements to the products, including "installing brakes to prevent stair falls." As a result of the new safety regulations, injuries dropped an additional 23%.
@voxdotcom Yup. But corporations hate those pesky regulations because it costs them money.— Jennifer L Schroeder (@Jennifer L Schroeder)1537317579.0
But there are still too many injuries for comfort, according to Dr. Gary Smith:
Despite this great success, there are still 2,000 children a year being treated for injuries, many of them serious injuries, in emergency departments. Therefore, we support the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics that baby walkers should not be sold or used. There's absolutely no reason these products should still be on the market.
@NPR Banned in Canada...— Marci Becking (@Marci Becking)1537202321.0
Though she has seen a decrease in the number of injuries, Dr. Jerri Rose, a pediatric emergency physician and professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, is concerned because parents often use the walkers as a "babysitter," turning away and letting their children explore on their own.
Dr.Rose said simply:
They're really not safe.
@BuzzFeedNews Simple solution: watch your kids.— lollipopguild_prez (@lollipopguild_prez)1537348801.0
The walkers allow children to reach areas they often didn't have access to, including stairs, pools, bathtubs, and kitchens. Dr. Smith says a baby in a walker can travel up to four feet per second, which could let them get into trouble even if a parent is watching:
Parents bought the myth that if they watched their children carefully they wouldn't get into trouble. But that was a myth.
Twitter users joined the call to protect infants:
@NPR I decided not to use one because it seems better for babies to naturally build their core muscles making them… https://t.co/yle0NzzqdK— Lassitude 𓅓 (@Lassitude 𓅓)1537206636.0
@deray They have been illegal in Canada since 2007 because there were so many emergency room visits for fractures a… https://t.co/ItFeeBFe8H— Melanie R.E. Wildman 🇨🇦 (@Melanie R.E. Wildman 🇨🇦)1537264206.0
@NPR AMEN! The harm they do clearly outweighs the parents convenience. Use a pack and play- or find another option.— Angela Wissler 🌊🇺🇸🌱🍄🔪 (@Angela Wissler 🌊🇺🇸🌱🍄🔪)1537201818.0
Others responded with a bit more snark:
@PopSci To show them babies who's in charge. Yup. Nailed it.— Markus Porkwing (@Markus Porkwing)1537333350.0
@BuzzFeedNews That sounds like the stairs and objects' fault.— nervous_clementine (@nervous_clementine)1537348100.0
@NPR smh babies can't even watch themselves these days— BoydRamos (@BoydRamos)1537201592.0
@deray I believe this warning went out in the 90s. Did we forget?— Robin Dake (@Robin Dake)1537270130.0
@voxdotcom How do you expect babies to get to the emergency room without walkers?— Pinkish Panther (@Pinkish Panther)1537282281.0
Dr. Rose recommends parents use stationary activity centers to entertain their child while keeping them in one place. It's important to know the safety risks of every product you load your infant into. While walkers are a common cause of injury, a recent study found that:
Improper use of infant walkers, baby carriers, strollers, changing tables and bath seats brings children 3 years or younger into U.S. hospitals to be treated for injuries every eight minutes.
There's a reason babies can't walk until the time is right!