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Infant Walkers: Dangers and Pitfalls

Posted Posted by Jill Roberson, MD in Uncategorized     Comments No comments

Infant walkers are still in use despite the warnings by the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding the increased dangers to the infants who use them.  The Academy has campaigned for taking infant walkers off the market due to perceived dangers.

Although it is fun to see the infant suddenly more mobile and placing a child in a walker is sometimes a virtual babysitter,  the device can increase the child’s chances of injury.  The infant can become more mobile before developmentally ready to be more mobile.  This can place the child in harm’s way prematurely. 

Some of the injuries I have seen in my practice include falling down a flight of stairs in a walker, pulling an electric fryer by the cord down from the counter, getting into toxic substances and rolling into a street.  These accidents could have taken place without a walker being involved, but the walker seems to intensify chances of injury due to increased mobility.

Placing a child in a walker also increases risk of some orthopedic problems such as developmental hip dysplasia.  This is a condition causing the hips to be out of socket.  It can be missed by medical care providers and cause long term damage to the hips.  Shortened Achilles” tendon can lead to toe walking and this is another condition which may be caused by use of infant walker.

The use of infant walker places the infant at higher risk of injury and orthopedic problems.  The infant is better off developing mobility at a normal rate.  Your pediatrician would most likely discourage use of the infant walker.