Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips? The Answer May Surprise You


Are Walkers Bad For Babies Hips? There is no definitive answer to this question as the research on the matter is inconclusive. Some studies suggest that baby walkers may contribute to hip problems later in life, while other studies are not able to confirm this correlation. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons does not currently recommend the use of baby walkers, but acknowledges that further research is needed to determine the potential risks and benefits.

As a concerned parent, you want to do whatever is in the best interest of your baby’s healthy development. One of the many choices you face in those early months is whether or not to use a baby walker. These devices have been on the market for decades and many parents rely on them to keep babies entertained while allowing for short periods of hands-free time. However, some studies have suggested that walkers may actually be detrimental to a baby’s hip development and mobility. With this concerning information in mind, you owe it to your child to fully understand the pros and cons of baby walkers and their impact on development before making a choice that could affect their long term health and growth. The answer to whether walkers are bad for babies’ hips may surprise you.

Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips?
Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips?

Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips? The Answer May Surprise You

What Are Baby Walkers?

Baby walkers are devices that provide mobility for infants who are not yet walking independently. Typically made of rigid plastic, baby walkers have a suspended seat, wheels or casters on the bottom, and a tray surface in front of the child. The intention of baby walkers is to give pre-walking babies opportunities for supported walking and mobility.

However, baby walkers have become controversial due to concerns about developmental delays and safety issues. Many pediatricians and child development experts now advise against using baby walkers. Studies have found that babies who spend time in walkers may learn to walk slightly later than babies who do not use them. Walkers also pose risks like falls, collisions, and access to hazards.

Some research indicates that the use of baby walkers can lead to a delay in mental and motor development. When babies are placed in walkers, they are unable to see their legs and feet. This deprives them of the opportunity to connect the physical sensations of walking with the visual experience, which is important for development. Babies in walkers also tend to move in repetitive circular motions rather than practicing the back-and-forth motions of real walking.

Due to these concerns, many countries have banned the manufacture and sale of baby walkers. Although walkers are still available in some areas, most experts recommend not using them. Alternative activities like supervised tummy time, crawling, and walking while holding onto furniture are safer ways for babies to develop motor skills and mobility before walking independently.

In summary, while baby walkers aim to help infants walk earlier, they have been found to pose risks to development and safety. Most child development experts advise finding alternative activities to help babies develop motor skills in a safe, natural way.

The History of Baby Walkers

Baby walkers, also known as baby activity centers, have been used for centuries to help infants learn how to walk. However, their safety and benefits have come into question in recent decades. ## The History of Baby Walkers

Baby walkers first emerged in the early 1600s. These early walkers were simple wooden frames that helped infants pull themselves up to a standing position and cruise along while holding onto furniture. In the 1960s, baby walkers with wheels were introduced, allowing infants more mobility. These wheeled walkers became very popular and were widely used through the 1990s.

However, as research into child development progressed, concerns emerged about the potential problems caused by baby walkers. Studies found that walker use could delay mental and motor development and was associated with a higher risk of injuries like fractures, burns, and falls down stairs. Due to these concerns, baby walkers are banned or heavily regulated in many countries today.

In the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has long advised against the use of baby walkers and has called for a ban. However, baby walkers are still widely available and used by many parents. The AAP and other experts recommend that parents not use baby walkers and instead allow infants to learn how to walk on their own timeline using stationary activity centers. For those who do use walkers, the AAP recommends using a walker with brakes or wheel locks, using walkers on flat, hard, and uncarpeted surfaces only while under close adult supervision.

While baby walkers aim to help infants learn to walk sooner, research shows they can be dangerous and hinder development. Most experts recommend that parents avoid using baby walkers altogether and allow infants to learn to walk when they are developmentally ready. Supervised floor play and stationary activity centers are much safer alternatives for entertainment and exercise.

How Do Baby Walkers Work?

How Do Baby Walkers Work?

Baby walkers, also known as infant walkers, are devices designed to help babies learn to walk. They typically consist of a sturdy frame that surrounds the baby, with wheels on the bottom that allow the walker to glide along the floor. The baby is placed inside the walker in an upright seated position. As the baby pushes along the floor with their feet, the walker moves, giving the baby the sensation of walking.

Some walkers contain activity trays with toys, lights, and sounds to keep the baby entertained while they are moving about. The mobility these walkers provide excites most babies and motivates them to walk, helping develop their leg muscles and balance. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether baby walkers actually help or hinder a baby’s development and mobility.

Detractors argue that baby walkers can be unsafe if used improperly or without adult supervision. There is also concern that walkers may delay mental and physical milestones by discouraging crawling, and can lead to injuries from falls or collisions. Proponents counter that when used properly and with caution, walkers give babies opportunities for exercise and entertainment during a stage when their mobility and curiosity are rapidly increasing.

If you do choose to use a baby walker, be sure to follow all safety precautions to minimize risks. Only use the walker on flat, even surfaces without hazards that could lead to falls or collisions. Always keep the baby in sight, and remove them from the walker during feedings or if they seem overly fussy or irritable. Limit the time spent in the walker to no more than 20-30 minutes at a time. With proper precautions and moderation, baby walkers can be part of a stimulating environment for babies learning to walk. However, for some babies walkers may provide more risks than benefits, so you know your baby best in determining if a walker will be part of their development.

Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips?

Are walkers bad for babies’ hips? This is a controversial topic that concerns many new parents. While walkers may seem convenient and give babies more mobility and independence at an early age, research shows they can potentially delay mental and physical development.

Delayed Development

Studies indicate that walkers can postpone babies from reaching important developmental milestones. Babies who spend extended time in walkers may take longer to sit, crawl, and walk on their own. Walkers prevent babies from learning skills like balancing, gripping, and controlling leg movements that come from unassisted floor play. Floor time also aids in cognitive, social and emotional growth as babies explore the world around them.

Risk of Injury

There is a risk of physical harm associated with walkers. Babies can gain quick speed, collide into walls and furniture or tumble down stairs, resulting in injuries like bumps, bruises, fractures and head trauma. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that over 14,000 infants end up in emergency rooms in the U.S. annually due to walker-related accidents and recommends not using them.

Alternatives to Walkers

Rather than using a walker, parents should encourage supervised floor time, tummy time and other activities that aid development. Alternatives like stationary activity centers, jumpers, exersaucers and play mats provide stimulation while keeping babies safely in one spot. Once babies can sit unassisted, parents can provide push or activity toys to help build leg strength and motor skills in a controlled manner.

While walkers may seem like an easy solution to keep babies entertained, the potential risks to development and safety outweigh the benefits. Giving babies opportunities to strengthen their muscles and explore the world through unassisted floor play and interactive toys is the best way to support healthy growth during these early months. With patience and the proper baby gear, parents can keep their little ones active and engaged without the use of walkers.

Studies on Walker Safety and Development

According to several studies, walkers can potentially delay infant development and may even cause hip dysplasia. While walker use does not directly cause hip dysplasia, it can exacerbate the condition in infants already at risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against walker use due to developmental and safety issues.

Studies on Developmental Delays

Research shows that walker use can delay motor development in infants. A 2004 study found that walker-experienced babies sat, crawled, and walked later than non-walker babies. The researchers theorized that walkers deprive babies of opportunities to actively develop leg strength and balance, core muscles, and motor planning abilities.

Hip Dysplasia Risks

For infants with a family history of hip dysplasia or loose hip joints, walker use poses additional risks. A 2014 study found that walker use in the first 15 months of life increased the risk of hip dysplasia diagnosis at 18 months. The unnatural hip and leg positioning required to navigate a walker is thought to exacerbate existing joint laxity or instability.

Safety Issues and Injuries

Several studies have linked infant walkers to increased risks of injuries, especially falls down stairs. A Canadian study found over 9,000 walker-related injuries in children under 15 months old over a 26-year period. The majority were head injuries, and 90% were due to falls down stairs. Due to these risks, walkers have been banned in Canada since 2004 and require safety features like braking mechanisms in the U.S. and Europe.

While walkers aim to help babies develop walking skills and provide entertainment, studies show they may do more harm than good. Between developmental delays, hip dysplasia risks, and safety issues, walkers pose many hazards with little proven benefit. The best way for babies to learn to walk is through supervised floor play, where they can actively build strength and balance at their own pace. For parents concerned about entertainment or containment, activity centers, play mats, and high chairs are safer alternatives.

Potential Risks of Baby Walkers

Potential Risks of Baby Walkers

Baby walkers, while intended to help infants learn to walk, actually pose several risks that parents should consider before purchasing one. Studies have shown that walker use can lead to injuries and developmental delays.

As infants become mobile in walkers, they are prone to collisions and falls. Walkers give babies access to areas that were previously unreachable, including stairs, electrical outlets, and other household dangers. According to research, baby walker injuries account for a large percentage of infant ER visits due to falls. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly advises against using baby walkers.

Walkers can also cause injuries to fingers, hands, and toes as babies attempt to propel themselves by pushing off of walls, furniture, and other objects. There have been reports of fractures, sprains, lacerations, and amputations resulting from baby walker accidents.

Developmentally, walkers do not encourage the proper sequence of learning to walk. They teach babies to walk on their toes rather than placing their whole foot on the ground. This can lead to delays in learning to walk independently. Babies may become dependent on the walker and have trouble transitioning to walking on their own.

For these reasons, baby walkers are banned in many countries. The AAP and other children’s health organizations recommend not using baby walkers. Stationary activity centers, play mats, and motorized toys provide safer alternatives to keep babies entertained as they learn to sit, crawl, and eventually walk.

Overall, while baby walkers aim to help infants develop walking skills, the risks far outweigh any benefits. Due to the threats of injury, developmental delays, and dependency, walkers should be avoided in favor of safer options that encourage mobility and learning to walk. Parents want the best for their little ones, so be aware of the dangers that baby walkers potentially pose.

Benefits of Floor Time vs. Walkers

Benefits of Floor Time vs. Walkers

When it comes to infant development, floor time and walkers each have their pros and cons. As a parent, it is important to consider which option will benefit your baby the most.

Floor time, or unstructured play time, provides several advantages for babies. First, it gives infants freedom of movement to stretch, roll, and crawl which helps develop motor skills and coordination. Floor time also allows babies to explore the world around them through touching, grasping, and manipulating various objects. This tactile stimulation is important for cognitive development. Additionally, floor time encourages social interaction between babies and their caregivers through face-to-face play.

In contrast, walkers can restrict a baby’s natural movements and exploration. The limited mobility of walkers prevents babies from fully stretching out their legs or turning easily. This can delay walking by up to two months. Walkers also prevent babies from interacting with their environment in an unstructured way. The baby is unable to freely pick up, drop, and manipulate toys while in a walker.

While walkers may seem appealing as they keep babies entertained, the long term benefits of floor time far outweigh any temporary amusement. Unstructured play encourages learning through discovery and helps babies reach important developmental milestones. As an alternative, parents can try activity centers, jumpers or exersaucers which provide babies more freedom of movement than traditional walkers.

The choice between floor time and walkers impacts a baby’s growth and development. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each option, parents can make the best choice for their child. Promoting floor time and independent exploration helps ensure babies meet developmental milestones and grow into curious toddlers. With patience and interaction, floor time can be just as engaging for babies as any walker.

Tips for Encouraging Movement Without Walkers

Encouraging your baby to develop motor skills without the use of walkers is important for healthy development. Here are some tips to help your baby strengthen muscles and improve balance in a safe way:

Tummy time

Giving your baby opportunities for supervised tummy time helps build strength in the neck, back, and core muscles needed for sitting, crawling, and walking. Start with just 3-5 minutes a few times a day and slowly increase the time as your baby gains strength and enjoys it more. Provide toys to keep them engaged during tummy time.


Once your baby can hold themselves up on their hands and knees, encourage crawling by placing favorite toys just out of reach. Crawling helps develop motor planning skills, balance, and coordination. Allow your baby to crawl on various surfaces like blankets, play mats, and low pile carpet.


As your baby pulls up to stand while holding onto furniture or other objects for support, they are building leg strength and balance. Gently encourage cruising by placing toys on stable furniture at varying heights to motivate your baby to walk while holding on. Always supervise your baby and provide spotting in case they lose their balance.


Holding your baby in a supported standing position helps strengthen leg muscles. Gently bounce or sway your baby in a standing position. You can also hold their hands to walk them forward a few steps. Sit in front of your baby and hold hands for support as they bounce on their legs.

Toys that encourage movement

Providing engaging toys, activity centers, and jumping toys gives your baby opportunities to move in fun, interactive ways. Look for toys with different textures, sounds, and activities at varying heights to keep things interesting. Always choose options specifically designed and safety tested for infants.

With your support and encouragement, your baby will gain strength and balance through safe movements and interactions. Avoid walkers and other devices that limit mobility and do not provide the core and full-body muscle stimulation needed for healthy development. Your baby will be cruising around in no time!

FAQ: Answering Common Questions on Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips

FAQ: Answering Common Questions on Are Walkers Bad for Babies Hips

As a parent, you want the best for your baby. Walkers, or baby exercisers, were once thought to help babies learn to walk, but recent research shows they may do more harm than good. Here we address some common questions about walkers and babies’ hip development.

Are walkers detrimental to my baby’s hips? Studies show that walkers can negatively impact babies’ hip development and mobility. The unnatural motion and posture of walkers may lead to hip dysplasia or dislocation. They also limit floor time, which is critical for strengthening core and leg muscles needed for walking.

Do walkers delay walking? There is little evidence that walkers speed up walking. Most babies will walk between 9 to 15 months whether or not they use a walker. Walkers can delay walking by limiting time for practicing standing, cruising and stepping. Floor time, tummy time and interactive play are the best ways to encourage walking.

Are there alternative options to walkers? Yes, there are many options that support healthy development. Stationary activity centers, play mats, bouncers and swings give babies opportunities for exercise and entertainment without the risks of walkers. As babies get older, push or activity toys, play tunnels and activity tables also provide fun ways to build leg strength and balance in a safe environment.

Should I avoid using a walker altogether? Based on research, it is best to avoid using walkers. While short term or limited use may not cause permanent issues, walkers provide no benefits and the risks to development and mobility outweigh any rewards. There are so many engaging options for exercise and entertainment that do not put babies’ hips at risk.

In summary, walkers are not recommended due to potential harm to babies’ hips and mobility. The good news is that with tummy time, interactive floor play and engaging activity centers, your baby will thrive and hit all developmental milestones without the use of walkers. By avoiding walkers altogether, you ensure your baby’s healthy hips and legs develop naturally.


In summary, while walkers may seem like an easy way to give babies mobility and independence, the risks to their development far outweigh any benefits. Their hips and leg muscles need time to strengthen naturally through tummy time, crawling, and pulling up to stand. As parents, your top priority is keeping your baby healthy and safe. Avoid the temptation for a quick fix or giving in to the demands of a fussy baby. Your baby’s long term mobility and comfort is at stake. Stay strong in your decision to avoid walkers and you’ll have the peace of mind from knowing you made the best choice for your baby’s growth and development. Their little hips will thank you for it in the years to come.