Baby walkers and exercise jumpers | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
What is a baby walker?
A baby walker is a circular frame on wheels that seats a baby who has not learnt to walk yet.
Some people believe that baby walkers are useful for their babies, to entertain them and help teach them to walk. This is not true. Baby walkers can be dangerous and can actually delay your baby’s walking development.
What is an exercise jumper?
An exercise jumper, also known as a jolly jumper or baby bouncer, is a device that holds a baby in sling seat with a spring or elastic. The device either comes in a standalone frame or can be attached to a door frame.
Like a baby walker, exercise jumpers can cause accidents and delay your baby’s development.
How does a baby learn to walk?
Most babies pass the following milestones while learning to walk:
rolling on the floor
crawling, creeping or scooting
pulling themselves up to stand
moving around furniture or other stationary objects
This means that babies need to spend plenty of time on the floor, learning and practising these activities.
How can I help my baby's walking development?
Let your baby spend lots of time on the floor. It's a safe space for your baby to learn to roll, sit and pull themselves up to stand.
You can also place your baby close to soft furniture to help them with pulling-up.
If your baby is moving around, block off a safe area for them to play and move. You can also use a high-quality play pen or stationary activity centre.
Do baby walkers and jumpers help my baby learn to walk?
NO - baby walkers and jumpers don't help a baby develop their walking. In fact, walkers and jumpers can impede or delay your baby achieving these important milestones. The more time babies spend in a walker or a jumper, the more delay they experience.
Walkers and jumpers take your baby's time away from the floor so they miss out on practising important, repetitive movements needed for them to reach their walking milestones.
Babies tend to use their toes when they are in a walker or a jumper, which tightens their leg muscles and Achilles tendons (the thick cord at the back of the ankle) - this interferes with normal walking development. Once out of the device, they often want to keep using their toes, which is not how babies usually learn to walk.
When babies sit and pull themselves up, they are learning how to balance. A baby doesn't balance in a walker, delaying learning this important skill.
Being in a walker or jumper also means less time on hands and knees in a crawling or pre-crawling position. This is important to developing weight bearing through both the pelvis and shoulders.
A variety of important movements is needed when babies are developing their walking skills, but they get fewer chances to practise these in a walker or jumper than they would on the floor.
Learning to crawl
Crawling is an important skill for your baby to learn and is a big milestone in their development.
Learning to walk
Your baby's first steps are one of the most exciting and memorable milestones in your child’s development.
Are baby walkers and exercise jumpers dangerous?
Baby walkers and exercise jumpers are not recommended in Australia.
Baby walkers are considered unsafe because they move very quickly. Your baby is also taller when upright in a walker and can reach things they usually don't have access to. Potential dangers include:
falling down steps or stairs
crashing into something sharp or hard
tipping over while moving
being toppled by an older sibling
accessing electrical cords or cupboards with hazardous substances (such as cleaning supplies)
moving quickly to dangerous areas such as fireplaces, ovens, heaters or pools
being able to reach hot drinks on tables or other dangerous objects
Each year, many babies are injured in Australia when using walkers. Some sustain serious injuries caused by burns, cuts, head injuries, broken bones, poisoning and drownings; some even die.
Exercise jumpers can also cause serious injury to your baby, including:
falling out, causing head or limb injuries
getting fingers trapped in the springs
colliding with the door frame or furniture — pets or other children could also push your baby
Development delays caused by tight leg muscles and Achilles tendons can sometimes require physiotherapy treatment, being put in leg casts, or even corrective surgery.
Are baby walkers legal in Australia?
Despite not being recommended for use in Australia, they can still be purchased and are not illegal.
Child health experts and state and territory health departments recommend NOT using baby walkers or exercise jumpers.
What safety guidelines are there for baby walkers?
Baby walkers sold in Australia, must comply with Australian consumer product safety standards.
All walkers sold in Australia must have:
a braking mechanism to help stop it falling down stairs
specific labels with clear safety instructions about blocking access to stairs, keeping the baby in view all the time, using only on a flat surface without objects to tip over and keeping away from all objects that could burn
prior testing to make sure it doesn't easily tip or topple over
Parents are highly discouraged from using baby walkers. However, if you still decide to purchase one, please follow these guidelines:
NEVER leave your baby unattended.
ONLY use on a flat surface and block off access to steps or stairs
REMOVE all dangerous items from the area, such as electrical cords, hot drinks, cleaning chemicals, fires, heaters, pools or toilets
MAKE SURE the walker has a lock and a braking mechanism.
NEVER use a walker before your baby can sit, or after your baby can walk.
LIMIT your baby’s time in the walker for NO longer than 15 minutes.
Speak to your doctor or child health nurse to learn more about how best to help your baby learn how to walk.
Tummy time is important for your baby’s development. It helps them learn to crawl, develop upper body strength and prevent flat spots on their head.
Toddler development - Motor skills
Toddlers develop fast, exploring their world and doing things independently. Here's how to help your toddler develop fine and gross motor (movement) skills.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (Product safety Australia - Kids equipment: Baby walkers), Australian Government Department of Health and Aging (Move and play every day: National physical activity recommendations for children 0-5 years), Kidsafe SA (Baby Walkers & Exercise Jumpers)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: May 2022
Back To Top
Learning to walk
Learning to crawl
Toddler development: Motor skills
Need more information?
Baby walkers | Product Safety Australia
Infants can suffer serious injuries when unsupervised in baby walkers. Always keep an eye on your infant when they're using a baby walker and ensure hazardous areas in the house are blocked off.
Read more on Product Safety Australia website
Baby walkers: Are they safe? Information for parents | Parenthub
Are baby walkers safe? Will they help your child learn to walk and keep them occupied while you work? Find out if baby walkers are right for your child.
Read more on Parenthub website
Safe baby furniture checklist | Raising Children Network
Safe baby furniture and baby equipment protects your baby. When choosing cots, highchairs, change tables, safety gates and more, look for AS/NZS standards.
Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website
Crying Baby | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network
Crying is a normal part of your baby’s development and is normal for all babies from all cultural backgrounds
Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website
Baby carrier, sling & backpack safety | Raising Children Network
When choosing a baby carrier, sling or backpack, look for healthy hip positioning for your baby. Use the T.I.C.K.S. rule to position babies safely in slings.
Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website
Dummy independence: teaching your baby | Raising Children Network
Dummy independence is when babies can put their dummies in by themselves. This helps if your baby uses a dummy to settle. You can teach dummy independence.
Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website
Baby slings & carriers | Product Safety Australia
Babies can suffer a range of injuries from incorrectly used or damaged slings and carriers. Make sure the product you buy is suitable for both you and your baby, and is made of heavy duty, well-wearing materials.
Read more on Product Safety Australia website
Baby & Young Children Safety Environment | Red Nose Australia
The information you need to make your home and other environments safe for babies and young children.
Read more on Red Nose website
Baby sleep habits: how to phase them out | Raising Children Network
Baby sleep habits can affect the whole family. Our guide explains how to phase out sleep habits like dummies, music and rocking so you all get more sleep.
Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website
Dummies: advantages, disadvantages & tips | Raising Children Network
Dummies soothe some babies and help them settle. But dummies can be a hard habit to break, and babies also need help to manage them. Get tips for dummy use.
Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is not responsible for the content and advertising on the external website you are now entering.
Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?
1800 882 436
Linking to us
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is funded by the Australian Government and operated by Healthdirect Australia.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is provided on behalf of the Department of Health
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby’s information and advice are developed and managed within a rigorous clinical governance framework. This website is certified by the Health On The Net (HON) foundation, the standard for trustworthy health information.
This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.
The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.
Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.
Support this browser is being discontinued for Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
Support for this browser is being discontinued for this site
Internet Explorer 11 and lower
We currently support Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. For more information, please visit the links below:
Chrome by Google
Firefox by Mozilla
Safari by Apple
You are welcome to continue browsing this site with this browser. Some features, tools or interaction may not work correctly.
Why Experts Say Baby Walkers Are So Dangerous
Although they seem simple and fun, baby walkers can lead to injuries and developmental delays. Get more information, plus learn about safer alternatives.
In the ’80s and ’90s baby walkers were a staple on baby registries, but they are much older than that. We see evidence of archaic baby walkers as early as the 15th century as parents look for tools to help baby learn to walk. But in recent history, baby walkers have come under fire, with many experts calling them dangerous and some countries—like Canada—going so far as to ban them!
So what’s the deal? Are baby walkers bad?
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about baby walkers, including:
Get free updates on baby’s first year! – Free Updates on First Year [In-article]
Sign me up!
What Are Baby Walkers?
Baby walkers are devices that babies (and toddlers) can use to walk before they are able to walk on their own.
Over the time baby walkers have gone by many names, including go-cart, standing stool, baby runners, walking stools, and trainers. During the 17th century, it was thought that baby walkers helped baby be upright “both physically and morally.”
Today these walking devices are usually made of hard plastic, with wheels on the bottom.
Another kind of device is a stationary baby walker (the same design, but they only go in a circle or don’t move at all). See an example here.
Are Baby Walkers Safe?
While it’s understandable to want to use a baby walker—many babies do seem to love them and it helps free up mom or dad hands—the truth is baby walkers are not safe. Here’s why:
Baby walkers increase the chance of injury
These devices move very fast, faster than a parent can react, and babies can fall down steps, pinch fingers, and reach for things that they may not otherwise be able to reach. Between 1990 and 2014 there were an average of 230,000 injuries due to walkers, with most injuries being head trauma. Even with newer safety standards, there are still about 2,100 baby walker-related trips to the ER each year.
Other common injuries include:
Head bumps and bruises (from falling down stairs or pulling items off of counters onto themselves)
Burns and poisoning (from accessing places baby shouldn’t go)
Pinched fingers or toes
Drowning from falling into a toilet or pool
Suffocation from neck being compressed against the feeding tray (the most rare of the injuries)
In 1994, stationary baby walkers were introduced, decreasing the amount of injuries each year. And in 1997, new safety standards made them safer, decreasing injuries by 76 percent from 1990 to 2001. (source)
While this is a good improvement in safety, experts say there are still real dangers.
“Walkers are unsafe,” pediatrician Gary Smith said in an interview with ABC News. “Children are still being injured in them. There should be a ban on the sale and manufacture of walkers.”
Baby walkers delay mental and motor development
Even if these devices were safe, there is evidence that they don’t actually help baby learn to walk properly. In fact, there’s evidence that walkers may actually delay development.
One study suggests babies who use walkers learn to walk later than those who don’t use walkers. Another study showed similar results: Researchers noted babies who used walkers sat, crawled, and walked later than a control group that didn’t use baby walkers. Infants who used walkers also scored lower on Bayley scales of mental and motor development.
But why would this delay development? Research suggests the delay in motor development can be attributed to the fact that baby can’t see his legs. Being able to see his own limbs shows baby what type of movement helped him achieve his goal.
Baby walkers hinder muscle development
It’s exciting to watch baby zoom around with a different perspective of the world, but forcing baby into a new position can be problematic for muscle development.
Walkers make it hard for baby to develop all of the muscles she needs to ultimately walk on her own. Time spent in these contraptions is time baby isn’t spending doing tummy time, or trying to sit up, crawl, or pull up—all activities that help prepare the body for walking. (source)
According to Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, baby walkers strengthen the lower legs but not the upper legs and hips, which are essential for walking, and satisfy baby’s desire to move across the floor, making them less likely to try crawling.
What’s more? Pediatrician Dr. Emmi Pikler discovered that babies who developed naturally (i.e. weren’t placed in containers like walkers) were stronger, more stable, and more confident in their movements.
Are Baby Walkers Banned?
Though the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has called for a ban in the U.S., you can still buy baby walkers in the U.S.
Walkers are, however, banned in Canada. In 2004, our northern neighbors became the first country to ban them. You can get a fine of up to $100,000 and six months of jail time (!) for selling these devices in Canada. (source)
So… Are There Any Safer Alternatives?
If baby walkers aren’t safe, what is?
Of course, activity mats or just blankets on the floor allow baby to explore their surroundings while strengthening their entire body.
Baby Activity Mat
If you need to do some chores around the house, you can put baby in a baby carrier as a safe, contained place.
Playpens filled with a few toys or swings are other alternatives that can help you while cooking dinner or doing another activity where you need baby to be safe and contained. Do know that all of these activities still require parental supervision, but experts say these options provide many of the benefits parents are looking for from baby walkers without the same serious problems.
Baby Play Pen Baby Swing
The key is not to put baby in these devices for long stretches of time as this can also affect motor development. It is also not safe to place baby in these devices for nap time (source).
Standing walkers (i.e. a walker that does not contain a baby in a seat) can be a good option for helping your baby practice walking. Unlike the rolling baby walkers, these sit-to-stand walkers allow your baby to see their legs, to use all of the muscles in their feet, and — most importantly — plop down on their bottom, which is an important part of the learning process! These types of walkers often feature locking or adjustable wheels so you can control how fast your baby toddles with the walker. Keep in mind, when baby is using this device, he will still require close supervision as there is a potential to fall down stairs, or go too fast.
ExerSaucers or bouncy walkers are another option to use in place of a baby walker. Because there are no wheels, your baby cannot accidentally walk or wheel to dangerous areas like the tops of stairwells. Even though baby is stationary, ExerSaucers should not replace quality time on the floor — cruising between furniture pieces or trying to step while holding your hands. Mobility experts recommend no more than two 15-20 minute sessions in a device like this per day.
With a safe place to practice what baby can already do on his own and strengthen muscles he needs for the next developmental milestone, he’ll begin walking before you know it. Just be patient and encouraging!
How About You?
When did your baby learn how to walk? We’d love to hear any stories you may have!
How to choose the right walker for a child?
All the skills that an infant acquires before the age of one are improved gradually. From six months, children try to get up on their feet, learn to keep their balance. Over time, training in the skill of walking begins. And baby walkers can help develop this skill. In fact, a walker is an exercise machine on wheels. Such transport can be with a seat or with a support handle, equipped with a table and additional accessories. The choice of a particular model depends on the age of the child, the characteristics of his development and the personal preferences of the parents.
Types of baby walkers
There are products similar to each other, but differing in the set of accessories. Also in stores you can see a variety of design options for walkers. Specialists divide children's transport into types depending on their design features.
This is a seat fixed in a plastic table and mounted on wheels. Due to the stability of the structure, the child can safely stand on the floor, push off, move in the chosen direction. In such transport, the baby can ride around the apartment on his own. The main thing is to clear space for him and exclude foreign objects from getting under his feet.
The advantage of this type of walker:
effective back support;
there is enough space on the table for games;
toys placed on the table keep the child occupied;
plastic body surrounds the baby and does not allow you to grab something extra.
Another plus is that traditional models can be adjusted in height. Chairs in such products are removable, they are easy to wash. And a set of game elements and modules on the table - to be replaced.
Important! Despite the maximum safety that this type of walker provides, children should not be left unattended in them.
This type of walker is ideal for children who do not like any restrictions and are already starting to walk a little: holding on to the back of the sofa, wall, mother's hand. Instead of sitting and rolling, the child prefers to roll the “cart” in front of him and look at the world around him. Wheelchairs are equipped with a game module, on which there are colored buttons that start music, including loud sounds. Rattles and spinners attract the baby, help to entertain him and free up parents' time for important things.
four large wheels;
handle with non-slip surface;
game module on the front surface of the product;
The inconvenience of the wheelchair is that you need to constantly monitor so that the child does not fall sideways with it. Most models are designed in such a way that when the baby falls, he falls, and the transport remains standing. This avoids injury.
In the standard sense, children's jumping walkers bear little resemblance to transport for moving around the room. But they are intended specifically for training walking skills. In jumpers, children learn to stand on their feet, to keep their balance. Such models allow the baby to periodically jump or stand still, sit or perform "running" movements. Jumpers - a system suspended on spring belts. They are fastened to panties with high torso support.
Characteristics of the Jump Walker:
similar to a kangaroo rucksack in seat design;
armchair - ergonomic;
are equipped with shock-absorbing belts and springs;
securely fix the baby.
Easy to use jumpers with circular bumper. Thanks to the protection, the child does not accidentally hit the surrounding objects. In order for jumping walker games to be beneficial, they should be used no more than three times a day. The child should jump no longer than 15-20 minutes.
Transformers are sometimes classic models that can transform from a rolling table on wheels into a rocking chair. To do this, it is enough to remove the wheels in special recesses. The base is also disassembled and rebuilt into skids. In multifunctional transformers, the height of the seat and table is adjusted, the set of toys is changed, the soft insert is removed from the high chair. Some models are equipped with a seat that rotates 360 degrees.
Advantages of transformers:
convenient for daily use;
are as stable as regular walkers;
are equipped with a spring-loaded function;
are equipped with additional bumpers.
The convertible walker empowers your baby while keeping him or her safe. Such transport helps to deepen the child's knowledge of the objects around him and does not greatly overload the little researcher with impressions.
Age and gender selection of walkers
The main purpose of a baby walker is to act as a walking aid. Therefore, parents themselves decide how many months a walker can be, focusing on the development of the child. Some babies begin to actively explore the world as early as six months. If the child crawls, sits down on his own, pulls himself up on the handles and stands in the crib, you can start putting him in a walker with a seat. But the optimal age for getting acquainted with traditional walkers and jumpers according to the recommendations of experts is 8-9months.
At first, the child is placed in a walker for 5-7 minutes. Gradually, the use of transport increases. The maximum period is up to 40 minutes at a time. If the baby rides for longer, it is possible to increase the load on the spinal column.
One-year-old children who are actively exploring the space of the apartment can use wheelchairs. You can play with them for a long time: rearrange the figures of the labyrinth, listen to music, take a walk.
Sometimes parents, when asking a pediatrician what time to put their child in a walker, think that girls can be put on their feet earlier. The reason is the earlier physiological development of girls. But orthopedists note that the difference between children of different sexes is insignificant. Therefore, you should pay attention to the level of development of the child.
Characteristic features of children's transport
When buying walkers, you should pay attention to their quality, quality factor and durability. When choosing a model for a baby, it is necessary to take into account not only the age of the child, his weight, possible rates of development, but also the design features of the product.
Basic design . Traditional models have a rectangular or round base, the base material is plastic. The rectangular base is safer and more functional, as it has four corner support points that prevent collision with furniture and large objects. At the base, not only are nests for wheels installed, but also special stoppers are hidden for a static location or transformation of walkers into a rocking chair.
Material and number of wheels . Wheels are either plastic or silicone. The most silent and "soft running" - silicone wheels. They do not make noise when driving, easily and accurately pass small hills and obstacles. Plastic wheels can scratch the floor, but they are also quite convenient to move around the house. Walkers should have dual wheels, as a pair is more stable and stable in corners than a single wheel. Thanks to the swivel wheels, the handling of children's transport is increased. Safety locks on each pair of wheels provide protection against foreign objects, clothing, laces. The number of wheels in traditional models ranges from 4 to 16. Some models are equipped with removable wheels, which allows you to turn the walker into a jumper or a rocking chair.
Seat and backrest . There are several types of seats: with foam inserts, waterproof, textile. If the model is removable, it can be easily washed. Waterproof highchairs are ideal for toddlers who are potty trained early. If the seat should be soft, fabric, then the backrest is quite rigid. In such a chair, the back of the child is securely fixed, which allows you to protect the baby from falls, to ensure an ergonomic fit.
Height adjustable, play platform complete set, other transformations . Children under one year old grow quickly, so walkers with adjustable seat height are appreciated by parents. Such a product will last for the entire time of use. Models with a removable table or additional bumpers are also more convenient than conventional ones, since you can change their purpose at any time. If walkers are equipped with removable play elements, they can be replaced periodically, stimulating the child's interest in walkers.
How to choose the right walker?
In stores you can see a large number of different types of walkers. Their prices fluctuate. And often it is difficult for parents to make a choice. The higher the price of the product, the better the materials used for its manufacture.
A proper walker should be:
Comfortable . A child in a comfortable seat will not get tired, will be happy to learn to walk, to explore the world. It is better to give preference to models with adjustable seat height.
Safe . Walkers with a stable base will not roll over. Therefore, it is better to purchase a product with a rectangular base, on 4/8/16 wheels.
Functional . In the wheelchair walker, the music center is disconnected, which allows you to transform the product into a lighter transport. Walkers with removable elements are more convenient to use, they are easier to keep children busy. Models with a changing seat height, a removable high chair, and washable elements have high functionality.
Parents can purchase the best baby walkers on our website. The virtual catalog contains traditional models, wheelchairs and other types of children's transport. If you need help choosing a baby walker, please contact the store managers by phone: +375 (29) 555-96-96 .
Baby walkers: good or bad?
There has always been a lot of controversy when it comes to walkers. There are those who defend this, and there is another current that criticizes them for considering them completely useless because they do not teach the child to walk.
At present, most experts and professionals are against baby walkers.
1 Pedestrian danger
2 What kind of injuries can a walker cause
3 How to teach your baby to walk without a walker
A walker is nothing more than a seat on wheels that allows a child to sit or walk without danger of falling to the ground. People used to think it was an item to help a child take their first steps, but pediatricians believe that walkers are dangerous because they prevent the child from developing muscles in a natural way. It has been shown that if a child regularly uses and abuses a walker, this may delay the child's motor function.
Leaving aside all the negative points, it should also be noted that it has some positive aspect as a toy with which the baby begins to explore the world around him and with which he can have fun. In addition, professionals note that in no case should a baby be abused with walkers, since the baby needs to crawl, walk and grab furniture on its own without the help of the mentioned walkers. The baby must learn to walk with his effort.
Injuries that walkers can cause
Walkers must always comply with European Union safety regulations and must always be used under adult supervision. . In many cases, a child is left completely alone in a walker, and accidents and injuries occur that could have been prevented.
Most common walker-related injuries They usually occur on the head and neck of a child due to falls. In addition to these injuries, which are the most common, there may be other, more serious injuries, such as burns or poisoning, because the baby walker can get to dangerous areas of the house, such as children. or plates for warming up food. Therefore, in case a child stumbles upon a walker, an adult must look after the child and thus avoid any misfortune.
How to teach your baby to walk without a walker
The first tip is to use a chair so that the child can lean on it and stay upright. . In addition to a bench, it can also be a chair or something that you can move around without any problems. As with walkers, an adult must always be present to avoid accidents.
Another way to get him to walk is to show him his favorite toy. This will free him from where he was being held and try to walk until he reaches the toy.
Another way to teach him to walk is to put your hands up and start walking to gain confidence.