Does the Little One Need Baby Walker?
Oleh: Morinaga Platinum
Baby walkers are actually designed to make the Little One move easier while practicing walking. This tool is expected to spur the Little One’s gross motor movement so that he/she can quickly walk. But, many are not aware of the fact that the use of baby walkers can harm the Little One.
Baby walker is shaped like a chair with a circular buffer around the Little One with a wheel underneath. This allows the Little One to shift himself/herself everywhere by using a foot push. Not infrequently, the Little One stands and tiptoes while pushing the baby walker, then, leaning on the table when he/she wanted to take something. This has the potential to hurt him/her because he/she could roll over and hit his/her head.
Based on the data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is recorded that around 8800 Little One age under 15 months had an accident due to the use of a baby walker, resulting in the events of those children must be hospitalized in the emergency room. In addition, it is also reported that baby walker took 34 lives due to accidents when using the tool, mostly due to fall and head injury.
If the use of a baby walker is not fully supervised by the Mommy or Little One’s Caregiver, many incidents may occur, including:
- Baby walker trips on an uneven surface
- The Little One who uses a baby walker can reach a hot drink on the table
- Baby walker falls off the stairs
- The Little One can reach the closet or drawer until his/her hands are pinched
The things above are very likely to happen because the Little One still does not understand what is dangerous for him/her and what is not. In addition, by using a baby walker, he/she is moving freely closer to whatever is around him/her. Some of the risks that can be experienced by the Little One when using an unattended baby walker is a head injury, broken bones, and burns.
Is the use of a baby walker worth the risk? Not at all. Instead of helping to train the Little One to quickly able to walk, the baby walker actually reduces his/her desire to walk. This is because, why bother walking if there is a wheel that makes it easy to move.
In addition, the baby walker also strengthens the wrong muscles. Both lower limbs are strengthened because of the use of baby walkers, but the upper limbs (thighs) and hips remain untrained. Which to the contrary, the upper limb and hips are very important to walk.
To train the Little One’s leg muscles is easy. Let him/her play a lot on the floor. He/she will be free to explore his/her environment. As an initial exercise in learning to stand, he/she can reach a short table or hold a chair. Mommy can also stimulate the Little One with a creative game that can sharpen the Little One’s motoric development. Creative game ideas can be found at Morinaga Multiple Intelligence Play Plan. Do a few different games so the Little One is not bored. To make things easier, Mommy can create a play plan that will hone all of his/her potential intelligences.