Why are Baby Walkers Bad for Your Child’s Development


Hey there, new parent! Before you go out and buy that adorable baby walker, there’s some important information you should know. Those walkers may seem like a great way to give your little one some independence and mobility, but studies show they can actually hinder proper development and even pose safety risks.

As tempting as it is to want to help your baby walk as early as possible, their physical and mental growth will benefit much more from allowing them to progress at their own pace. Your baby’s muscles, balance, and coordination are developing rapidly in the early months, and walkers can interfere with that process in ways that lead to long-term issues. Not to mention the scary fact that walkers are responsible for thousands of injuries each year. There are many fun and engaging alternatives that provide the mental stimulation babies need without the risks. Your baby’s health and happiness should be the top priority.

Why are baby walkers bad
Why are Baby Walkers Bad?

Why are Baby Walkers Bad for Your Child’s Development

What Are Baby Walkers?

Baby walkers are devices that allow babies to “walk” before they can do so on their own. They consist of a supportive seat with wheels that allow the baby to scoot around, all while believing they are actually walking. These devices were once thought to help encourage walking, but research shows they can actually delay walking and pose safety hazards.

What’s the Problem?

Baby walkers teach babies the wrong way to walk. They don’t allow infants to balance themselves or feel the floor under their feet. Babies miss out on developing core and leg strength that comes from crawling and cruising furniture. Studies show babies who spend time in walkers tend to walk later than those who don’t.

Another issue is safety. Walkers allow quick mobility and access to dangers around the home. Babies can reach cabinets, stairs, tablecloths, cords and other hazards that are usually out of reach. Thousands of babies are injured in walkers each year, and some injuries are fatal. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using baby walkers at all due to these risks.

Instead of walkers, give your baby opportunities for supervised floor play. Once they start crawling, baby gates can block off any unsafe areas. As they get closer to walking, push toys, activity tables and other freestanding toys allow them to pull up and practice cruising while avoiding the risks of a walker.

Your baby’s development and safety should be top priorities. Rather than rushing walking, give your little one time to build strength and skills at their own pace. By avoiding baby walkers and providing opportunities for safe exploration, you’ll encourage healthy development and minimize risks. Your baby will be strolling on their own in no time!

The Dangers of Baby Walkers

Baby walkers may seem like an easy way to keep your little one entertained, but they can actually hamper development and pose safety risks. ###

As a new parent, you want to encourage your baby’s growth and exploration. However, baby walkers can delay mental and physical milestones by restricting movement. Babies need opportunities for free movement and exercise to build motor skills and coordination. In walkers, they can’t crawl, cruise, or walk freely like they need to.

Baby walkers also pose dangers around the home. It’s easy for babies to reach items that could cause injury and accidents are common. Little fingers and toes can get pinched, and walkers give babies access to hazards like cords, heaters and table edges. There’s also a risk of falling down stairs since walkers give the illusion of stability and independence before a baby is actually ready.

Rather than relying on a walker, give your baby opportunities for supervised tummy time, crawling and walking while holding your hands. Set up a safe play area, use baby gates to block off unsafe areas and always keep one hand on your baby for support. Your baby will thrive, and before you know it, they’ll be cruising and walking on their own when the time is right.

Baby walkers seem like an easy solution, but your baby’s development and safety should be top priorities. With patience and the right activities, you’ll be rewarded with seeing your little one’s exciting milestones and have peace of mind knowing you avoided the dangers of baby walkers.

Why are baby walkers bad
Why are Baby Walkers Bad?

Baby Walkers Can Delay Physical Development

Baby walkers can negatively impact your child’s development in several ways. While walkers may seem like an easy way to keep a baby entertained, the risks to their growth far outweigh any benefits.

Delayed Walking

Using a walker can delay when a baby takes their first solo steps. Babies rely on the walker to get around and don’t build strength in their legs, core and balance – all needed for walking. Studies show babies who spend a lot of time in walkers tend to walk 3-4 weeks later than those who had limited walker use. Their first steps may also be wobbly and uncertain without the support of the walker.

Risk of Injury

Baby walkers pose a serious risk of injury, especially from falls down stairs. An infant can move up to 4 feet per second in a walker, fast enough to lose control and tumble down a short set of stairs before a caregiver has time to react. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, thousands of infants are treated in emergency rooms each year in the U.S. for walker-related injuries.

Less Interaction

Time spent in a walker is time not spent interacting with caregivers and engaging in activities that stimulate development. While a baby can move around and play with some toys in a walker, they are limited in how much they can interact with the environment and other people. Floor time, tummy time, and other activities that encourage reaching, grasping, sitting, crawling and more are far more valuable for growth and learning.

Rather than relying on a baby walker for entertainment or mobility, focus on supervised floor time, tummy time, and other interactive activities. Your baby’s development will benefit, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing they are safe, strengthening important skills, and bonding with you during this critical stage of growth.

Using Baby Walkers Can Lead to Accidents and Injuries

Using baby walkers can lead to accidents and injuries. These devices seem convenient, but they are dangerous contraptions that offer no real benefits. Studies show that babies who spend time in walkers actually develop motor skills more slowly than babies who don’t use them.

Increased Risk of Falls and Collisions

Baby walkers give the illusion that a baby can move around freely and steadily. The truth is, a baby in a walker has very little control or coordination. Walkers make it easy for babies to access areas they shouldn’t, like stairways. Each year, thousands of babies in walkers suffer injuries from collisions and falls down stairs.

Delayed Mental and Physical Development

Time spent in a baby walker is time not spent practicing important developmental skills. Cruising, crawling, and walking help babies build strength in their legs, core, and back. These activities also help with balance, coordination, and motor planning. Babies need lots of time on the floor practicing these skills to develop properly. Walkers deprive babies of these opportunities and can delay key milestones.

Risk of Toe Walking

Some babies develop a habit of walking on their toes after spending too much time in a baby walker. Toe walking can lead to problems with balance, coordination and posture. It is best avoided, and baby walkers may encourage this behavior in some children.

Lack of Benefits

There are no real benefits to using a baby walker. While walkers may seem amusing to babies in the short term, they do not help with development or learning to walk. Most experts recommend skipping the baby walker altogether. Floor time, tummy time, and supervised practice walking while holding onto furniture are the best ways for babies to build skills and prepare to walk independently.

In summary, baby walkers pose many risks to development with no real rewards. Your baby’s health, safety, and proper growth should be top priorities. For these reasons, walkers are considered dangerous devices that should not be used.

Better Alternatives to Baby Walkers

Baby walkers may seem like a fun way for your little one to get around and explore, but pediatricians strongly advise against using them. Here are some better alternatives for your baby’s development and entertainment.

Stationary Activity Centers

Stationary activity centers, like exersaucers, provide a safe space for your baby to sit, spin, bounce and play. Look for options with interactive toys, sounds and lights to keep them engaged. These help develop leg muscles and motor skills without the risk of falls or collisions.

Play Mats

Thick, padded play mats give babies a soft space to roll, sit, crawl and eventually take those first steps. Look for mats with different textures, colors and activities like peek-a-boo flaps to keep things interesting. Tummy time on a play mat helps strengthen neck, shoulder and core muscles necessary for walking.

Push or Activity Walkers

Push or activity walkers give babies the experience of walking while still providing stability and support. The wheels allow babies to get around, but at their own pace. Look for options with brakes, adjustable seats, and trays for toys to keep them entertained. These help build leg strength and balance in a safe way.

caregiver Supervision

Nothing is more valuable for your baby’s development than interactive play with their caregivers. Sit with your baby on the floor, hold their hands to help them balance while walking, read books together and play with toys that encourage crawling, sitting, standing and stepping. Your support and encouragement will motivate them to build strength and skills to eventually walk on their own.

In the end, while baby walkers may seem appealing, the risks far outweigh any benefits. Focus on safe, engaging alternatives that stimulate your baby’s development through supervised play and interaction. Their health, safety and long term mobility are far too important.

Tips for Encouraging Mobility Without a Walker

Instead of relying on a baby walker, there are better ways to encourage your baby’s mobility that are safer and more developmentally appropriate.

Give your baby plenty of tummy time.

Spending time on their belly, while supervised, helps build strength in their neck, shoulders and trunk. This makes it easier for them to push up, roll over, sit up and eventually crawl.

Invest in activity gyms and play mats.

Activity gyms with dangling toys, textures and sounds give babies opportunities for kicking, grasping, pushing and pulling in a safe space. Play mats, activity tables and exersaucers also provide spaces for babies to stand, bounce and swivel while supported.

Baby-proof your home.

Once your baby is rolling over, sitting up and crawling, it’s time to make your home safe for exploration. Put corner and edge bumpers on tables, use safety gates to block stairways, cover electrical outlets, and keep small objects out of reach. The more you baby-proof, the more freedom you can give your baby to roam and navigate on their own.

Encourage crawling and cruising.

Place motivating toys, sounds and people in view of your baby to encourage them to move toward something or someone. Get down on the floor and crawl with them. As they start pulling up to stand, push lightweight furniture together so they can cruise by holding onto furniture for support.

Be patient through frustration.

Babies will get frustrated when they can’t move as freely as they like. Resist the urge to place them in a walker. Instead, stay with them on the floor, gently encourage their efforts, demonstrate the skills they’re trying to master, physically guide their movements and provide lots of praise for their accomplishments. Their mobility will progress with your support, patience and persistence.

The key is avoiding baby walkers and instead providing opportunities and a safe environment for your baby to actively develop their mobility at their own pace. With your encouragement and patience, their skills will blossom in no time!

What Pediatricians Say About Baby Walkers

Pediatricians strongly advise against using baby walkers. Here are the main reasons why:

Delayed Development

Baby walkers can delay a child’s motor development. Walkers prevent babies from learning how to crawl effectively and can hamper development of coordination and balance. Studies show that babies who spend a lot of time in walkers tend to crawl and walk later.

Safety Hazards

Baby walkers also pose many safety risks. The most serious hazard is falling down stairs, as walkers give babies mobility before they have learned how to control it. Walkers can also allow babies to reach items that would normally be out of reach, leading to risks of poisoning, burns or other injuries. The wheels and hinges also present dangers of finger entrapment or limb injuries.

False Sense of Independence

Baby walkers give infants a false sense of independence before they are physically and cognitively ready. Babies seem mobile, but have no real control or ability to stop themselves. This can lead to feelings of frustration and impaired learning of limitations.

Pediatricians recommend stationary activity centers, play mats, and good old floor time as safer alternatives that encourage development of motor skills and balance. They suggest walkers only be used under close adult supervision for very short periods, if at all.

The key is to give your baby opportunities to move freely and build strength in a safe environment. Supervised play time on the floor, especially tummy time, helps babies learn to roll over, sit up, crawl and eventually take those first steps – all on their own developmentally appropriate schedule. Your baby will get there, with your love and support. There’s no need to rush the process with a baby walker.

Signs Your Child Is Ready to Walk Unassisted

Your baby has been scooting, crawling, cruising and taking those first hesitant steps while holding onto furniture for months now. When are they finally ready to strike out on their own and walk independently? There are a few signs your little one is ready to take their first solo steps.

They can stand steadily without support

If your baby can pull themselves up to stand and balance for a minute or longer without needing to hold onto anything for support, their leg muscles and core strength have developed enough for walking.

They walk confidently while holding one hand

Your baby is probably ready to walk on their own if they can walk steadily across the room while only holding one of your hands for minimal support and balance. Let them guide you – they’re showing you they’ve got this!

They can bend their knees and sit down gently

Babies need strong leg muscles and balance to bend their knees, squat down and sit themselves gently on the floor. If your baby can do this smoothly, they have the necessary skills and strength to start walking independently.

They imitate walking

Babies start walking by imitating the walking motions they see every day. If your baby is imitating walking by taking several steps at a time, marching in place or walking sideways while holding furniture, their body and mind are primed for the real thing.

They seem eager to walk

Some babies will seem eager or impatient to start walking on their own. If your baby is making attempts to take steps between pieces of furniture or seems frustrated that they can’t quite do it yet, their motivation and drive to walk is there, they just need the opportunity and your encouragement!

The signs are there, your baby is ready to walk! Stay close by for support and encouragement, keep the floors clear of obstacles and get ready to celebrate this huge milestone! The walking adventures are about to begin.

FAQ: Answering Common Questions About Baby Walkers

Many new parents have questions about baby walkers. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones:

Are baby walkers safe?

Baby walkers are not recommended and can actually be dangerous for development and safety. Studies show they can delay mental and physical milestones and cause injuries from falls. It’s best to avoid using a baby walker.

Do baby walkers help babies walk?

No, baby walkers do not help babies learn to walk. Walking is a developmental skill that babies learn on their own timeline. Baby walkers can actually delay walking by depriving babies the opportunity to interact with the environment in a way that helps build strength and skills.

Are there alternatives to baby walkers?

Yes, there are many alternative activities that can help encourage your baby’s development. Things like tummy time, crawling, and playing with push-pull toys help build strength and skills. Once your baby is pulling up and cruising, you can introduce walkers that don’t have wheels, like activity centers. These provide entertainment and practice standing while also being stable and safe.

What age can a baby use a walker?

Baby walkers are not recommended for babies of any age. It’s best to avoid them altogether. If you do choose to use one, wait until your baby is able to sit up unassisted, usually around 4-6 months. But keep in mind that walkers still pose risks for older babies, like falls down stairs. It’s safest to avoid walkers and use alternative activities for development.

Are there any benefits to baby walkers?

There are no real benefits to using baby walkers. While they may seem entertaining for babies, they do not provide any advantages for development and can actually be detrimental. It is always safer and better for development to avoid using baby walkers.

If you have additional questions about baby walkers or your baby’s development, be sure to talk to your pediatrician. They can provide guidance specific to your child’s needs.


So now you know why baby walkers should be avoided. They don’t help your little one learn to walk and can actually slow down their development. More importantly, they can be downright dangerous. Your baby’s safety and healthy development should be top priorities. Skip the walker and give your baby plenty of tummy time, help them sit, stand and cruise while holding onto furniture. Most of all, be patient through the process. Before you know it, your baby will be walking on their own. Every baby develops at their own pace, so try not to compare them to others. Keep your baby safe, engaged and having fun. The walking will come, so enjoy this stage while it lasts!