Until very recently, walkers were common in all homes with young children, as they were thought to help children learn to walk faster. However, today we know that this is not the case and that they should only be used sparingly and occasionally. In fact, avoid its use, at least until the little one has learned to fend for himself.
Why should baby walkers be banned
1. Slows down motor development
In order to learn to walk, the baby needs to go through different stages: first, he must sit down, then crawl, stand up, and finally, begin to take his first steps. With the walker, most of these stages are skipped, which affects the proper motor development of the baby. In addition, the walker does not encourage the swinging of the arms when walking, an indispensable exercise to train coordination, at the same time that it does not favor the biomechanical movement that is needed to have a good footfall.
2. Delay the start of the march
Did you know that children who use a walker crawl and walk later than those who do not? A study published in The British Medical Journal compared the time it took for children who used a walker to learn to walk with those who did not. The results showed that it took a total of 57 weeks for children who used a walker to stand up and take their first steps, while those who did not use this implement took just over 53 weeks. Children who did not use the walker also had better balance and better coordination when walking.
3. Alters the development of the legs and back
The walkers have a kind of central seat that allows the baby to learn to gain balance and boost. However, this support forces you to slightly separate and arch your legs, which prevents these muscles from strengthening, while affecting proper development of the back and increasing the risk of bone abnormalities in the knees and feet, like flat foot syndrome. Children who use walkers to learn to walk have been shown to be at twice the risk of abnormalities than those who do not.
4. It affects the motor area of the brain
The brain is responsible for encoding and processing the stimuli that come from the hands and feet to generate and save movement patterns. It also sends signals to the muscles so that the baby stands up and begins to crawl and, later, to walk. However, when using the walker, the hands hardly move and the footprint is much lighter, which means that the stimuli do not adequately reach the brain, affecting the development of the cross pattern, the neurological function that allows proper coordination and balance when walking. In addition, being inside the baby’s baby develops a very limited perception of space, which affects the development of other cognitive functions.
5. Increase the risk of accidents
Walkers represent the second leading cause of accidents before 6 months and one of the leading causes of head injury. This is due to falls caused by crashes or overturns that can seriously injure babies. In fact, it is estimated that children who use a walker are 4 times more likely to have an accident when falling down the stairs, as well as twice the risk of suffering fractures before their first birthday.