Why Did Canada Ban Baby Walkers? A Look at the Risks and Regulations


As a new parent, you want to give your baby every advantage to learn and develop. You see products like baby walkers advertised as providing entertainment and helping infants learn to walk sooner. However, baby walkers were banned in Canada in 2004 due to serious safety risks and concerns. Before you purchase a baby walker for your home, understand why they were banned and the potential dangers they pose.

Baby walkers may seem like an ideal product to give your infant mobility and freedom before they can walk on their own. However, Health Canada found that baby walkers caused thousands of injuries per year, and in some cases even death. The wheels and mobility of the walkers allowed babies to access areas and hazards they normally couldn’t reach. The risks far outweighed any benefits of the product. Canada chose to ban baby walkers to prevent these avoidable injuries and protect infants.

As a caring parent, you want to make the best choices to keep your baby safe, healthy, and developmentally on track. Understanding why baby walkers are not an appropriate product can help guide you to better alternatives that actually help infants learn to walk when the time is right. Keep your baby safe—say no to baby walkers.

Why did Canada ban baby walkers?
Why did Canada ban baby walkers

The History of Baby Walkers in Canada

The History of Baby Walkers in Canada

Baby walkers were once a popular product for infants in Canada, allowing babies as young as 5-6 months old the ability to wheel around a home. However, in 2004 Health Canada banned the manufacture, importation, advertising and sale of baby walkers citing serious safety hazards.

According to studies, baby walkers were responsible for thousands of injuries per year in Canada, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to skull fractures and broken bones. The primary risks included falls down stairs, collisions with furniture or other obstacles, and finger entrapments. The design of walkers also did not help with development and could delay motor skills.

Given the risks, all major manufacturers in Canada voluntarily stopped producing baby walkers in 1989. However, private imports and sales of walkers still continued, prompting Health Canada to issue a full ban in 2004 under the Hazardous Products Act. This made it illegal to sell, advertise or even give away a baby walker.

The ban aims to promote infant safety and encourage alternative activities that aid development, such as playpens, activity centers and jumpers. While some argue that with proper safety precautions and adult supervision walkers should still be allowed, Health Canada maintains that there are no proven benefits to outweigh the risks. The ban has significantly reduced infant walker injuries and deaths in Canada.

Overall, Canada’s ban on baby walkers is an example of regulations aimed at protecting public health and safety. By eliminating a hazardous product from the market, the government has prevented thousands of preventable injuries and the suffering of families across the country.

Injuries and Safety Issues Associated With Baby Walkers

Baby walkers, once a popular device for helping infants learn to walk, have been banned in Canada since 2004 due to the risks of injury and developmental delays they pose. ##

The use of baby walkers has been associated with a high number of injuries, especially from falls down stairs. Infants in walkers have an increased mobility and can reach higher speeds, but they lack the ability to properly steer and stop themselves. This results in a greater risk of collisions and tumbles down stairways, which can lead to head injuries, fractures, and other serious harm.

In addition to physical injuries, baby walkers have been found to potentially cause developmental delays in infants. The walkers restrict natural movement and do not allow babies to use their core and leg muscles in the way needed to learn how to walk properly. They also limit visual and sensory stimulation that comes from interacting with the environment during unassisted movement.

Due to these significant risks to health and development, baby walkers were banned in Canada in 2004 through amendments to the Hazardous Products Act and the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Similar regulations and bans have also been put in place in several other countries to limit the dangers posed by these devices.

Parents looking for safe alternatives to help their babies learn to walk have many options today, including stationary activity centers, play yards, and old-fashioned floor time with some engaging and interactive toys. Supervised tummy time, crawling, and pulling up on furniture are also important for development and learning to walk. With patience and the right activities, infants will gain the strength and skills to take those first steps when they are ready.

Why did Canada ban baby walkers?
Why did Canada ban baby walkers

Canada’s Decision to Ban Baby Walkers – What Led to This?

Canada banned the manufacture, importation, advertisement, and sale of baby walkers in 2004 due to significant safety concerns. What led to this decision and why were these products deemed too hazardous for the Canadian market?

High Risk of Injury

Baby walkers posed a high risk of injury or death due to falls down stairs, collisions with obstacles, and the inability to access hazards that would normally be beyond a baby’s reach. Studies found that baby walker use resulted in a large number of injuries, with falls down stairs accounting for the majority. The design of baby walkers made it easy for infants to propel themselves at unsafe speeds, lose control and tumble down entire flights of stairs.

Lack of Proven Benefits

There was no evidence that baby walkers provided any benefits for development or learning to walk. While marketed as a tool to help babies learn to walk, baby walkers did not actually help infants develop walking skills. They could delay mental and physical development by restricting mobility and exploration of the environment.

Ineffective Safety Standards

Existing safety standards were inadequate to address the risks. Additional safety mechanisms, like stair gates, did not prevent all injuries. Voluntary safety standards also proved ineffective, as companies were not required to comply and consumers had no way of determining how much safer one product was over another.

Protecting Canadian Consumers

In the end, the risks to infant health and safety were determined to outweigh any potential benefits of baby walkers. By banning their sale and importation, Health Canada aimed to prevent injuries to Canadian babies and give parents peace of mind that these hazardous products would no longer endanger their children. The removal of baby walkers from the market was a victory for consumer protection in Canada.

In summary, baby walkers were banned in Canada due to their high risk of causing injury, lack of proven developmental benefits, inadequate safety standards, and the need to protect Canadian consumers from hazardous products. By eliminating baby walkers from the market, Canada aimed to safeguard its infants and support parents in providing the safest environment possible for their children.

Why Did Canada Ban Baby Walkers Go Into Effect?

Why Did Canada Ban Baby Walkers Go Into Effect?

In 2004, Canada banned the manufacture, importation, advertisement, and sale of baby walkers. This ban went into effect on April 7, 2004 under the Hazardous Products Act. The decision came after years of research showing that baby walkers caused injuries and developmental delays in infants.

According to Health Canada, baby walkers with wheels did not provide any benefits to child development and in fact caused harm. Studies found that infants in walkers were more prone to injuries like skull fractures, broken bones, and finger amputations from collisions and falls down stairs. Baby walker use was also linked to developmental delays in motor skills like crawling, walking, and balancing.

Due to these significant risks, Health Canada spent over a decade evaluating the hazards of baby walkers before instituting the ban. The federal agency first issued warnings about baby walker dangers in the 1990s and worked with manufacturers on safety standards. However, injuries and concerns continued, leading Health Canada to conclude that “there is no way to modify the design of baby walkers to adequately address the risk of injury they pose.”

The ban applies to any wheeled device that holds an infant in an upright position before they can stand up on their own. This includes devices with brakes, grips, or other safety mechanisms. Stationary activity centers and jumpers are still permitted as they do not have mobility features. Parents looking for alternatives can try using playpens, high chairs, activity mats and jumpers for their infants.

In summary, Canada banned baby walkers to protect infants from harm and support healthy development. The ban went into effect in 2004 and applies to any wheeled walker device for infants who cannot yet stand on their own. Alternative products and activities are available for parents seeking to stimulate and engage their babies.

What Does the Ban on Baby Walkers in Canada Entail?

What Does the Ban on Baby Walkers in Canada Entail?

In 2004, Canada banned the manufacture, importation, advertisement, and sale of baby walkers. This broad ban was implemented due to serious safety hazards and developmental risks associated with the use of baby walkers.

The ban prohibits any device designed to support an infant in a standing or walking position before they are able to do so independently. This includes devices commonly known as “baby walkers,” “activity centers,” “exercisers,” and “jumpers.” The ban applies to both three-wheeled and four-wheeled walkers.

There are a few exceptions to the ban. Therapeutic baby walkers prescribed by a physician for a child with a developmental disability or delay are permitted. Stationary activity centers that do not have wheels and do not permit an infant to propel themselves are also allowed.

The use of baby walkers can lead to injuries from falls down stairs or collisions with obstacles. Infants can move up to 4 feet per second in a baby walker, often surprising caregivers and making it difficult to react in time to prevent accidents. Walker-related injuries such as skull fractures, concussions, broken bones, and finger amputations were common prior to the ban.

In addition to physical risks, baby walkers can hinder development. They enable infants to stand and move before the appropriate developmental stage, which can negatively impact balance, coordination, and muscle control. The use of baby walkers has been shown to delay onset of walking independently.

The broad ban on baby walkers was implemented to protect the health, safety, and development of Canadian infants. By eliminating the manufacture, sale, and importation of these devices, the ban aims to curb their use and the risks associated with them. Parents and caregivers are advised to choose stationary activity centers and avoid the use of baby walkers.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Baby Walker Ban?

While Canada banned the manufacture, importation, advertisement, and sale of baby walkers in 2004, some exceptions still exist.

Used or Antique Walkers

Baby walkers that were already owned prior to the ban are still permitted for private use. Some second-hand stores and private sellers also continue to sell used walkers that were manufactured before the ban. However, it is illegal for stores and manufacturers to import or make new baby walkers for sale in Canada. Parents should exercise extreme caution if using an older walker, as safety standards have improved greatly since the ban.

Walkers for Children with Special Needs

Some parents of children with special needs, such as those with mobility issues, have obtained waivers to import or purchase new baby walkers. To qualify for an exemption, the walker must be deemed medically necessary by an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. The walker must also meet current safety standards, including features like wheel brakes, seat belts, and wide, sturdy bases to prevent tipping. However, these waivers are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and there is no guarantee a waiver will be granted.

Alternative Mobility Aids

Instead of baby walkers, parents have several safer options to help children with mobility or developmental delays. Stationary activity centers, play yards, and jumper toys allow babies to stand, bounce and play without the risk of falls or collisions. When a child is ready to walk, push or activity walkers with locking wheels and harnesses are safer alternatives. Therapists may also recommend physiotherapy, occupational therapy or mobility aids tailored to a child’s specific needs.

In summary, while Canada banned baby walkers to prevent injuries, some exceptions exist for private use of walkers owned before the ban, for children with special needs, or when safer alternatives are not suitable. However, parents should exercise the utmost caution if using a walker, follow all safety guidelines, and consider a medical waiver if purchasing a new walker. The wellbeing of children is best served through safer, supervised activities and therapeutic interventions to aid development.

What Are the Alternatives to Baby Walkers in Canada?

As baby walkers are banned in Canada, what alternatives are available for parents and caregivers? Several options can stimulate a baby’s development while keeping them safe.

Stationary Activity Centers

Stationary activity centers provide entertainment and exercise for babies without the risks of mobility. Models with seats that spin 360 degrees, toys, sounds and lights keep babies engaged. These centers help babies develop motor and cognitive skills as they bat at toys, press buttons and navigate the activities.

Play Mats and Gyms

Thick, padded play mats and activity gyms give babies a safe space to move, roll and grasp at dangling toys. These mats cushion falls and protect babies when learning to sit up, crawl and pull up to stand while holding onto furniture. Activity gyms with arches that suspend multiple toys help babies develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills as they reach for, grasp and manipulate the toys.

Bumbo Seats

Bumbo seats give babies support to sit up, play with toys and interact with others before they can sit unassisted. The soft foam seat has leg holes and back support with safety straps to keep babies secure. Bumbo seats can be placed on the floor, counters or tables so babies can join in at their level. Supervised floor time in a Bumbo seat helps strengthen babies’ back, neck and leg muscles in preparation for sitting and crawling.


For babies that can support their own weight, jumpers provide exercise and entertainment. Harness-style jumpers that suspend babies from a door frame allow babies to bounce and spin. Stationary jumpers with a seat, harness and elastic straps provide a safe jumping space. Jumpers help build balance, coordination and motor skills. Always follow the weight limits and instructions to prevent injuries.

Giving babies opportunities for stimulation and exercise during this stage of development does not require the use of baby walkers. With close supervision and age-appropriate alternatives, parents can support healthy growth and learning without the risks. The benefits of physical and mental development far outweigh any perceived convenience of baby walkers.

Do Other Countries Have Bans on Baby Walkers?

Baby walkers were once a popular product for helping infants learn to walk, but they pose major safety risks. Due to the dangers associated with baby walkers, many countries have instituted bans or regulations on their use.


In 2004, Canada became the first country to institute an outright ban on the manufacture, importation, sale, and advertising of baby walkers. This step was taken after studies found that baby walkers caused a high number of injuries to infants, especially falls down stairs. The ban aims to protect children and promote safer alternatives for infant development and mobility.

European Union

The European Union has stringent regulations on baby walkers under the European Standard EN 1273. These regulations impose safety requirements like braking mechanisms, stability testing, and warnings about use near stairs. Some EU countries like Sweden, Norway, and Finland have total bans on baby walkers. The EU regulations have made walkers safer, but many child safety organizations continue to recommend not using them at all due to remaining risks.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia banned the sale and manufacture of baby walkers in 2004, following the lead of Canada. New Zealand has had a ban in place since 2005. Like other countries, these bans were implemented to improve child safety by eliminating a product that posed a high risk of injury.

United States

The United States has not instituted an outright ban on baby walkers, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and other child safety organizations strongly advise against their use due to safety risks, especially falls down stairs. The AAP continues to lobby for a ban on baby walkers in the US, citing statistics that show baby walkers continue to pose risks even with added safety mechanisms. Many parents are choosing safer alternatives like stationary activity centers and jumper toys.

In summary, baby walkers are banned or heavily regulated in many developed nations due to the risks they pose to infant safety and development. The risks of falls, collisions, and other injuries far outweigh any benefits of baby walkers, which is why many child safety experts recommend not using them at all. Safer alternatives provide similar benefits without the risks.

FAQ on Canada’s Ban on Baby Walkers

Canada banned the manufacture, sale, and importation of baby walkers in 2004 due to several safety concerns and risks associated with their use.

Instability and Injuries

Baby walkers offer very little stability and support for infants who are still learning how to sit up, balance, and walk. Babies can easily tip over walkers or tumble down stairs in them, leading to injuries like skull fractures, broken bones, and trauma. Studies found that baby walker-related injuries accounted for about 1 out of every 10 infant injuries treated in emergency rooms in Canada.

Delayed Development

Baby walkers can also delay mental and physical development in infants. They restrict a baby’s movement and mobility during a critical stage of development. Infants need opportunities for moving around and interacting with their environment to help develop motor and cognitive skills. Walkers deprive babies of these opportunities and can negatively impact development.

Difficulty Baby-Proofing

It is challenging to completely baby-proof homes for the use of baby walkers. There are many hazards in the home that walkers can allow babies to access before they are developmentally ready, such as stairs, electrical outlets, and cabinets. Supervising a baby in a walker at all times is difficult and not a practical solution for most families.


Why were baby walkers allowed in Canada before 2004? Prior to 2004, baby walkers were considered toys and subject to less stringent regulations. As more research emerged on the dangers, the government moved to ban them.

  • Are there any alternatives to baby walkers? Yes, there are many safer alternatives like stationary activity centers, play mats, bouncers and jumpers that provide stimulation without the risks.
  • What about walker-like devices? Any device that provides mobility for infants who cannot walk independently is prohibited. This includes walkers, jumpers, rollers and other wheeled devices.
  • Are there any exemptions to the ban? Therapeutic baby walkers prescribed by a physician for a child with special needs may be exempt, but require a safety evaluation.

In summary, Canada banned baby walkers to help prevent injuries and support healthy development in infants. The risks to safety, health, and development posed by these devices are too great, and parents should opt for safer alternatives.


With a long history of accidents, injuries, and even deaths associated with baby walkers, it is no wonder Canada took action to ban them. As a nation focused on health, safety, and the well-being of its citizens, especially the most vulnerable like infants, banning baby walkers was a prudent decision. While some parents may still choose to use baby walkers, doing so could put a child at serious risk of harm. For the safety of your baby, it is best to avoid using a baby walker altogether. Their development and mobility will progress at the proper pace with your attentive guidance and nurturing. Your baby’s health and safety should be the top priority.