Are baby walkers safe, are baby walkers bad or are baby walkers recommended are some of the top questions you may be grappling with. With some countries and experts such as AAP warning against use of baby walkers, it can be difficult to even think of the brands to consider.
Like thousands of parents across the country, the safety and expert opinions on walkers for babies is something you are probably wondering about.
In this post, we’ll not only provide a detailed guide on the best baby walkers currently available on the market but also answer some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to these devices.
Baby walkers have been around for centuries, with the first recorded use dating back to the 16th century.
The earliest baby walkers were nothing more than a wooden frame with four legs and a seat suspended in the middle. They were essentially mini chairs that babies could sit in and be pushed around by an adult.
As time went on, these early walkers evolved and became more sophisticated. By the 19th century, they looked quite similar to the baby walkers we know today, with the addition of a handle and a tray for the baby to play with.
Baby walkers were extremely popular in the 1950s and 60s, with nearly half of all babies in the US using one by the time they reached six months old.
However, their popularity began to decline in the 1970s after a number of high-profile accidents involving baby walkers. In one incident, a baby fell down a flight of stairs while in a walker and was seriously injured.
This led to increased scrutiny of baby walkers and eventually, stricter safety regulations. As a result, the number of baby walkers in use began to decline, and by the 21st century, they were no longer as popular as they once were.
Are baby walkers safe?
No, baby walkers are not safe for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a total ban on the manufacture of baby walkers with wheels. It urges parents to get rid of any baby walkers they may have, and this includes the one you received as a gift.
Walkers are not only a safety hazard but also the leading cause of injuries in babies, which is why health and safety experts strongly discourage their use. Babies can roll into hot stoves, heaters, and pools while using walkers.
Baby walkers are already prohibited in Canada. Canadians are not permitted to produce, import, advertise, or sell baby walkers under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act.
On its website, the National Health Services (NHS) agrees with a host of experts in warning parents against using baby walkers. It states two reasons for rejecting the use of baby walkers;
- Safety: Even when children are supervised, there are a high number of accidents are reported yearly. These accidents include; falling down stairs, head injuries, burns, scalds, and trapped arms/ legs.
- Delayed development: Babies who are in a baby walker for too long have shown delayed development, according to several research. Baby walkers do not stimulate developmental progress and frequently actually delay the attainment of motor milestones. Contrary to popular belief, they DO NOT teach a kid to walk. They can encourage a kid to walk on its toes, which might carry over into independent walking when they grow older.
Risk hazards involved when using baby walkers:
Risk of a baby rolling down the stairs:
When a baby is placed in a walker, he or she can quickly learn to move it around by pushing off with his or her feet. This can be extremely dangerous if the walker is not close enough to the ground. If the walker tips over, the baby could fall out and down a flight of stairs.
Risk of baby falling:
Baby walkers are top-heavy, which means they can easily tip over if the child leans too far to one side. If the walker tips over, the baby could fall out and be seriously injured.
Risk of head injuries:
Babies who use walkers are at an increased risk of suffering serious head injuries. This is because they often fall out of the walkers and hit their heads on hard surfaces, such as floors and stairs.
Risk of drowning:
Baby walkers can also be a drowning hazard. If a baby is using a walker near a pool or other body of water, he or she could easily fall in and drown.
Risk of baby getting burned:
Baby walkers can also be a fire hazard. If a baby is using a walker near a stove or other heat source, he or she could easily roll into the flame and be seriously burned.
can baby walkers cause hip dysplasia?
The cloth seat in baby walking systems puts your child’s hips in an unnatural bent that may raise the risk of hip dysplasia/dislocation later in life. Additionally, once they are outside the jumper/walker, your youngster may develop heel cord tightness, resulting in “toe-walking.” It is recommended that you avoid using baby jumpers and walkers.
can baby walkers cause bow legs?
It’s possible for a baby walker to cause bow legs this! According to research, the walking style of infants deteriorated when they used walkers, and especially if they were already walking improperly. Children who start walking too early often develop the bow legs condition, which is when the legs curve out at the knees.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to make sure that your child is using the walker correctly. If you notice that your child’s legs are starting to bow, take him or her out of the walker and consult your doctor.
NHS Guidance on the safe use of baby walkers:
NHS recommends the following if you choose to use a babywalker with your child
- Never leave your baby unattended
- Never let your baby near steps or open doors eg. patio windows
- Avoid use near open fires, cookers or radiators or trailing wires
- Check floor is free of objects that could cause tipping
- Your child can move at up to 7mph, faster than you can react
- Make sure both feet are flat on floor, not on toes
- Not suitable for babies who cannot support their heads
- Use for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time
Are baby walkers illegal in Canada?
Baby walkers have been banned in Canada since April 7, 2004, to prevent child injury. If you are caught selling them, you will be fined. It is also illegal to sell baby walkers at garage sales, flea markets, or on street corners. Children using baby walkers are exposed to hazards that they would not normally be accessed if the child were not supported by the walker. Some risks include falling down stairs and drowning. So if you own a baby walker, destroy it immediately.
Aside from walkers, below are some other items banned by the Canadian Authorities;
- Infant self-feeding devices – structural devices to position feeding bottles, which allow babies to feed themselves while unattended;
- Yoyo balls – pose a risk of strangulation;
- Balloon blowing kits – that contain a poisonous organic solvent;
- Re-light candles – candles that re-light spontaneously once extinguished;
- Jequirity beans – including items containing these poisonous beans; and,
- Lawn darts with elongated tips.
Baby walkers vs. activity centers
Activity centers are stationery products that provide a safe place for your baby to play while you attend to other tasks. They often come equipped with toys and music to keep your little one entertained. Many activity centers can convert to a seat for when your baby gets older.
Traditional walkers, on the other hand, have wheels and allow your baby to move around. They usually have a tray where you can place toys or snacks. Some models even come with a built-in potty so your baby can learn to use the toilet while in the walker.
Which one to get?
Activity centers are a good choice if you want a product that will grow with your child. They’re also a good option if you’re looking for a walker that won’t roll away. Traditional walkers, on the other hand, give your baby the freedom to move around and explore his or her surroundings.
Which baby walker is best?
Joovy Spoon Baby Walker is our overall best baby walker for being lightweight, has wheels (lockable) for easy movability, adjustable height, and is foldable. Also, the seat is padded for comfort with a removable insert as well as a generous height and weight limit. It passes all our buying guide criteria although a little on the higher in terms of price. We also love it for it has not been recalled which makes it safe.
On the table below, you can scroll the table sideways to see all comparison features (for mobile users)
Quick Comparison Table of top brands
|Baby Walker||Image||Item Weight & Age/weight limit||Colors Variety||Rating on Amazon||Price|
|#1. VTech Sit-and-Stand Learning Walker||No products found.||5 Pounds;|
Up to 3 years
|4||4.8/5 stars in 66,000+ reviews||Check here|
|#2. Joovy Spoon Baby Walker||No products found.||12.3 pounds;|
Up to 30 lbs
|4||4.7/5 stars in 7,700+ reviews||Check here|
|#3. Kolcraft Tiny Steps Activity Walker||No products found.||7.46 pounds;|
Up to 26 lbs
|Multicolored||4.6/5 stars in 6,500+ reviews||Check here|
|#4. Bright Starts Baby Walker||No products found.||11.5 pounds;|
6 months +
|2||4.6/5 stars in 6,000+ reviews||Check here|
|#5. Tiny Love Here I Grow||No products found.||13.14 Pounds;|
Up to 30 lbs
|3||4.6/5 stars in 5,400+ reviews||Check here|
|#6. Safety 1st Developmental Walker||No products found.||1 Pounds;|
Up to 30 lbs
|3||4.6/5 stars in 4,700+ reviews||Check here|
|#7. Delta Children First Exploration Activity Walker||No products found.|| 7 pounds;|
Up to 25 lbs
|3||4.5/5 stars in 3,400+ reviews||Check here|
|#8. BABY JOY Baby Walker||No products found.|| 8 pounds;|
Up to 30 lbs
|3||4.5/5 stars in 2,500+ reviews||Check here|
|#9. iPlay, iLearn Baby Walker||No products found.|| 5 Ounces;|
Up to 2 years
|Multicolored||4.6/5 stars in 2,100+ reviews||Check here|
Reviews of 9 top-rated Walkers for Babies in 2022 (4.5+/5)
1. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker – Best Interactive
VTech is a reputable name in the baby products industry, especially electronic learning toys, globally since its creation in 1976. The brand’s Sit-and-Stand Walker is the top interactive learning walker that you will find in the market today. The play panel is removable so your baby can use it before and after he learns to stand. It features an early education center with 5 piano keys to help inspire your toddler’s creativity. The mechanical elements and false telephone will enhance his play fun exceedingly. The manufacturer recommends an age limit of up to 3 years.
Your little bunny will love this baby walker’s 70+ sing-along songs, fun phrases as well as sound effects that help him improve his sensory development. The 2 multicolored spinning rollers, 3 light-up buttons, and 3 shape sorters will be handy in boosting your baby’s motor skills. This VTech baby walker comes in 4 color varieties and scores extremely high in terms of popularity with 63k plus positive client reviews.
Check out the best baby activity centers
2. Joovy Spoon Baby Walker – Best Overall Baby Walker
If you are looking for a baby walker that offers the benefits of a highchair, Joovy got your needs covered with their Spoon Walker. Other than a design that helps your little one to develop his or her mobility skills, this baby walker comes with a super-sized tray that can be used as an activity center. The tray also offers a good place to feed on as the tray insert is detachable dishwasher safe for ease of cleaning. This baby walker is built to last with luggage-grade material.
I love the seat padding that boosts your baby’s comfort and comes in 4 colors variety and the 3 adjustable height positions so the walker can grow with your baby. It also has wheels that you can lock into one position. When not in use, the Spoon Walker can be folded into a compact flat size for storage and travel-friendliness. It comes with a generous weight and height limit of 30 pounds and 33.5-inches, respectively.
3. Kolcraft Tiny Steps 2-in-1 Infant & Baby Activity Walker
Kolcraft is a renowned baby products family-owned company that is based in Chicago that has had a remarkable experience in the field since its founding in 1946. Their Tiny Steps can be easily converted from a seated activity walker to a walk-behind walker which makes it a superb choice for your infant or toddler. It comes with a weight and height limit of 15-26 pounds and 32 inches. Kolcraft is JPMA certified and offers 1-year manufacturer warranty.
Your child will fancy developmental toys including a beads bar for motor skills plus a spinning ball and a pretty flower to keep them entertained. This walker comes with independent front swivel wheels that make moving easy and is also fitted with resistant friction pads on the base that make stopping it very easy. The seat is padded for comfort and is machine washable, plus 3 adjustable heights that make growing with your kid easy. And did I say that it is foldable?
4. Bright Starts Baby Walker
Are you looking for an artistic walk-a-bout baby walker that converts your child’s learning and imagination to the next level? I would recommend this walker from Bright Starts. It comes in two varieties, including the Juneberry Delight and safari-themed Roaming Safari walker which are both ideal for your baby boy or girl. The Juneberry Delight is my favorite that comes with removable electronic toys with lights, sounds, and melodies that promote sensory and visual skills. The design is perfect for 6 to 12 months old with a weight limit of 26 pounds.
Your little bunny will love the high seat back that supports healthy sitting and is padded for extra comfort. There are 3 adjustable height positions that you can change based on your child’s age and development and two link loops for adding extra toys. Many parents have said that the wheels glide well on the hard floor.
5. Tiny Love Here I Grow Mobile Activity Walker
If you want to invest in a baby walker that offers the best versatility, you will definitely love the 4-in-1 walker from Tiny Love. You can adjust it to match your kiddo’s developing milestones and use it as an activity center, pusher, walker, or jumper. Your kid will appreciate the 20+ different activities that come with this walker that promote up to 7 skills. Yes, and that includes language, cognitive, sensory, creativity, emotional intelligence as well as gross and fine motor skills.
The Here I Grow comes with a padded seat that rotates 360° so your kid can explore the world around them easily. The seat pad is removable and the walker folds easily through nesting its outer frame. This baby walker comes with a weight limit of 30 pounds and features replaceable front wheels while the rear ones are made from a rubber material.
6. Safety 1st Developmental Walker
If you are looking for a baby walker that makes your little one’s first steps easier, you will love the Safety 1st Ready, Set, Walk! Developmental Walker. This comes with lights and sounds that help keep your baby amused and 3 different toys that offer dissimilar learning games. If you buy the Spotlight Pink color for your daughter, the color will blow her mind away! She will love the 12 unique songs while the toys provide her with tactile and sensory stimulation. The padded seat will keep her comfy as she plays and is made with material that is to clean.
This developmental walker comes with 3 adjustable heights that accommodate the best support and height as your baby grows. Like the Joovy walker and the likes, this Safety 1st baby walker features an extra-wide base that provides solid stability as your child uses it. Your kid will also love the large tray where she can place her other toys as well as place more toys. It folds compactly for carrying convenience and storage and comes with a weight limit of 30 pounds.
7. Delta Children First Exploration 2-in-1 Activity Walker
Delta Children has been around since 1967 which makes it an early establishment like Kolcraft and VTech brands and is a cherished brand in the baby products industry. Their First Exploration Activity Walker features are versatile with a compact size best for small spaces. It offers both seat and walk-behind options so your kiddo can use it after graduating to move their legs. As your little one grows, you can easily adjust to the available 3 heights to find the most suitable position for him or her. The handle is comfy and provides an optimal balance for first walkers.
Like with Joovy and Baby Joy walker brands, the tray can be used to place your baby’s activity toys but this one is equipped with music features to make it more amusing. These toys help fuel your boy’s or girl’s auditory and visual senses. When it is time to eat, you can clear the tray to create space. I love it for being very lightweight and foldable with a padded seat for comfort that is made with machine-washable material. It has a weight and height limit of 25 pounds and 30 inches.
8. Baby Joy Baby Walker
When you search for quality baby products in most categories, Baby Joy brand is among the most popular in the industry, and their Baby Walker is no exemption. If you are looking for a basic walker that meets most of your needs, go for this! The activity walker comes with detachable bear toys that stimulate your kid’s sensory skills while accelerating development. Enhancing your child’s learning skills and independent thinking ability has never been easier.
This baby walker comes with 3 adjustable height positions so you can set the most suitable height for him or her as they grow. It is designed for babies that are up to 30 pounds with a high back and padded seat for comfort. Like Joovy, the base is wide which helps boost the walker’s stability, is foldable, and it has 4 sturdy wheels for easy maneuverability on carpets and floors. The walker also features a large tray that can be used during your baby’s feeding time and for play.
9. iPlay, iLearn 3 in 1 Baby Walker
Yet another excellent baby walker that you can get under $100, this product from iPlay, iLearn store offers versatility for use until your kiddo turns 2 years old. The activity table features a game center that helps stimulate and develop motor skills and intelligence in your newborn girl or boy. The walker encourages your little one as they take their first steps while inspiring them to keep walking with interactive music.
I love the drawing and writing board that stimulates your child’s imagination to create loads of fun using the magnetic doodle board after they have learned to stand on their own. To make the first steps of your kiddo safe and secure, this baby walker features a triangular structure and has an easy-to-grip handle and adjustable speed. Unlike other walkers reviewed here, however, this one has a weight limit of 23 pounds.
Other baby walkers include Baby Einstein Around We Grow Walker, Radio Flyer Classic Baby Walker, and the 2011 Parent’s Choice Approved Award winner Hape Wonder Wooden Walker.
Buying Guide for Top Baby Walker Brands that are Safe
If you are wondering what to look for when purchasing a baby walker, read through our 7 simple but exhaustive guidelines below:
- Age & Weight Limit – Go for a baby walker fits the weight and age limit that your baby has for comfort.
- Adjustable Heights – Make sure the baby walker has multiple adjustable heights so he or she can use it for longer as he grows. Your baby’s feet should contact the floor as he or she sits on the walker.
- Wheels & Braking – Look for a baby walker with sturdy wheels made from the fine material for ease of mobility on different surfaces. Also, should be lockable to prevent moving when you don’t want to.
- Padded Seat – Padding helps improve your baby’s comfort and the material should be easy to wash to maintain proper hygiene.
- Design & Material – Choose a walker with a wide base for stability to ensure that your baby is safe. While at the store, fold it to ensure does so easily for storage or travel convenience. The construction material should also be sturdy but lightweight, baby-safe, and very easy to wash the mess.
- Other Features – If you find a baby walker with extras like a simple mechanism that helps limit the walker speed, the better. Also, take a walker with more interactive toys that aid your baby’s development.
- Price – Do your research before you spend a dollar and stick to your budget. As you can see from our review, there are very many affordable baby walkers with excellent quality. Plan anywhere from $40 and above.
In addition to the factors to consider when buying a baby walker above, we recommend that you avoid used walkers for your child’s safety. New baby walkers are good as they conform with the advanced safety standards which impact safety. Also, check whether there are any recalls on the brand, and ensure your home is baby-proofed where you intend to use the walker.
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Mary Stephens is our infant development and baby fun activities specialist here at Motherhood HQ. She has over 10 years of experience dealing with kids, previously as a K3 teacher and now as a K9-12 teacher specializing in physical education and Social Studies. She is certified to teach in New York and Massachusetts and when not teaching trampoline jump tricks or giving toddler safety guides, she enjoys writing and providing helpful guides to parents on baby fun activities from infancy to toddlerhood. Mary is also an independent consultant providing parents with fun activities at home and appropriate toys and baby gear for infants and toddler development. She can be reached at her email, mary.s(at)motherhoodhq.com.
Last update on 2023-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API