Do baby walkers help train babies to walk?
While there are many baby products like strollers, toddler knee socks or car seats that are absolutely essential for your baby, there is always a question concerning the need and importance of a baby walker. Many parents tend to think that a walker will help their baby learn to walk easily and quickly. Walkers certainly can keep your child safe from many potential dangers, while keeping him entertained. They also help in strengthening his lower leg muscles. Walkers definitely allow your child to get around the house quickly and with ease. But the major concern is – does the walker really encourage your baby to walk?
Parents have been using a baby walker as an aid to amuse and keep their babies occupied while they are busy with other important chores. Many parents also believe that they can use this plaything to train their babies to walk. But this does not always work. A normal baby’s development follows a very definite development pattern which is more commonly known as baby milestone. With each milestone, a baby develops a specific skill that is needed for his normal functioning. So, learning how to sit will follow only after the baby has mastered his head control. And sitting in balance gradually prepares your baby to crawl, then stand and eventually walk on his own.
Though a walker stimulates development, a baby will walk only when he is really ready for it. A baby walker does strengthen the lower leg muscles of your baby but not the upper leg and hip muscles. Only when all his muscles are strong enough to keep him upright and allow him to balance himself properly, your baby will learn to walk. Babies learn to walk in part by watching and understanding how their feet and legs move. If a walker has a tray, which in most cases it will, a child will not be able to see what is happening with his lower body and this causes delay in motor development skills.
Moreover, if very small babies are put in the walkers and made to spend most of their early weeks in a walking ring, they almost always end up walking on their toes. This walking style is abnormal and messes your child’s balance when he really starts to walk independently. Also it is observed that many babies who spend a lot of time in walkers struggle to or never crawl. This again hinders their natural development. An injury to your baby’s head caused by a walker falling over is also a major safety concern.
The bottom line is that an all-in-one activity walker rarely encourages your baby to walk sooner. However, this does not make a baby walker completely forbidden for your baby. As long as you use it for short periods under proper supervision, it will turn out to be your baby’s best friend.
Guest Blogger: Nisha