Experts have voiced concerns that the devices can stiffen babies' legs and potentially prevent them from reaching key development milestones, including rolling, crawling and walking.
Concerns over potential danger
A campaign has been launched by South Australia (SA) Health and Kidsafe in Australia to warn parents about the dangers of baby walkers and jumpers.
Kidsafe states on its website, “Baby walkers and exercise jumpers are dangerous and not recommended.
“Baby walkers do not help babies learn how to walk any sooner, and may delay them reaching other very important milestones (rolling, sitting, crawling).
“While in a walker, babies do not learn how to use their muscles properly. This teaches them to walk on tiptoes, causing their leg muscles to become tight.
“This may require treatment, like casting or even surgery.”
Limit time spent using baby walkers and bouncers
The NHS currently advises that babies should only spend 20 minutes at a time in walkers and bouncers.
Agreeing with Kidsafe, the NHS website explains that these devices “encourage babies to stand on their tiptoes and can delay walking if your baby uses them a lot."
Canada banned the sale of baby walkers in 2007 due to the risks to a baby's development, but there is currently no ban on their sale in the UK.
BabyCentre UK adds, “Safety experts and health professionals strongly discourage the use of baby walkers, because of the number of accidents and injuries they cause.
“Walkers won't help your baby learn to walk. Using one too much may even delay development slightly.
“Your baby needs to learn to roll, crawl, sit and play on the floor, in order to reach developmental milestones.”