Before my daughter learned how to walk, I would always put her in a baby walker.
She loved rolling around with her food and toys, and acting like the adults around her.
Fortunately she liked it because it was nearly impossible to keep an eye on or carry her every second.
Having said that, my heart skipped a beat the one time she got close to the basement staircase.
As a parent, I don't see them as unsafe, but I know the potential risks involved with leaving a baby in them.
But according to doctors, baby walkers are even more worrisome than most people think...
In the past few decades, baby walker injuries have dropped significantly, but it's still happening at an alarming rate in the U.S.
According to research from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, between 1990 and 2014, there were 230,676 infant-walker related injuries in children younger than 15 months.
In 2014 alone, 2,000 children were injured.
And that's only infants who were admitted to the hospital for baby walker injuries.
The study, which was published in Pediatrics, found that a majority of these injuries happened when a child fell down the stairs while in the walker.
“Baby walkers remain a serious and preventable source of injury to young children and should not be used," co-author of the study Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said.
For these reasons, Canada banned the sale of baby walkers in 2004.
But here's where things get even more nerve-wracking...
Baby walkers may be impeding the development of children, Smith argues.
Contrary to popular opinion, "baby walkers do not promote walking skills. In fact, other studies have demonstrated that baby walkers can transiently delay mental and motor development.”
In 2010, Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene also wrote about the dangers of baby walkers for the New York Times:
"Parents should know that walker use typically delays motor development – and that it delays mental development even more."
In light of this, Smith said he supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ call for a ban on the "manufacture, sale, and importation of baby walkers.”
Alternatives to using a baby walker:
According to Smith, there are safer alternatives that parents should look into:
"Stationary activity centers that spin, rock and bounce, but do not have wheels, and good old-fashioned belly time, where a child is placed on their belly on the floor and allowed to learn to gradually push themselves up, then crawl and eventually walk."
[H/T: Fox News / Vox]