Which Baby Walker Is Best?
Choosing the best baby walker for your baby
As babies get close to learning to walk they start using anything and everything they can grab to pull themselves up and practise standing and balancing. The sofa, the coffee table, your legs and even the family dog are all popular choices.
Wooden baby walkers are toys that have been specifically designed to encourage this process and help little ones progress toward taking their first steps. They encourage babies to stand for longer which strengthens the muscles they need for walking, as well as keeping them stable while they learn to balance.
Once they are ready to start walking the wheels allow them to cruise independently around the room without needing to stick to the furniture.
Are baby walkers safe?
Obviously as parents we want to ensure our children are safe. Research suggests that sit in baby walkers may not be safe both due to potential accidents if babies are not properly supervised, and the potential negative developmental effects that can come from excessive use.
This style of baby walker has been banned in Canada and the NHS recommends a maximum of 20 minutes use per day.
Push along vs sit down walkers
Push-along walkers, however, are great for encouraging babies to practise standing and take their first steps. They can also give babies confidence and a sense of independence that can also be valuable in learning to walk.
Unlike the sit in version a push walker allows babies to see their feet, sit down on the floor when they need to, and use their muscles in the correct way for learning to walk rather than scooting.
Push along walkers come in many styles including the zimmer frame style activity walkers, push-along carts or vehicles, walkers that can be used as ride-on toys when babies get a bit bigger, and prams and shopping trolleys that will be played with for years.
If you are thinking ahead to when your baby will learn to walk then an activity walker could be your best buy as they are fun, engaging and great for development long before the point of taking their first steps.
Activity walkers can be used for tummy time, can encourage babies to roll, shuffle or crawl, and are perfect for encouraging sitting which is a vital step in the learning to walk process.
They also have lots of activities that are perfect for sensory development, fine motor skills, learning about cause and effect and discovering shapes and colours.
A push-along wooden baby walker full of blocks is about as traditional as it gets and many parents today will have used one as a child.
The addition of a set of building blocks makes this a versatile toy that will be loved both before and after little ones learn to walk and perfect for developing fine and gross motor skills. And of course, the cart can be used to carry anything your baby wants, and we all know there is nothing toddlers love better than loading up their toys and pushing them around.
Ride on walkers
If you're buying a walker because you feel your little one is just about ready to take their first steps then a ride-on-walker could be the best choice. Being pushed around is loads of fun, and once they've mastered walking, scooting about on a ride-on will mean it remains a popular toy for much longer.
Alternatives to baby walkers
If you're worried about getting the most out of a baby walker, you might want to consider a pram or shopping trolley. These are still great for babies to pull themselves up on and great for taking their first steps but are equally loved by three-year-olds.
This type of toy will extend when the baby can use a walker.