Whether it’s through advertising, in movies or professional recommendation, we’re all familiar the baby walker. On the market in varying forms since 1851, the device was first designed to support young infants, usually up to a year old, who cannot walk to move from one place to another.
As technology and advertising has developed, the popularity of the baby walker has increased. But whilst manufacturers are producing an increasing number of walkers, an ever-growing number of medical doctors and alternative health professionals are asking parents to pay heed to warnings about their use.
Many consider baby walkers to be effective tools for simulating the act of walking in small children. This however, is not correct. Industry-commissioned research suggests that, in actual fact, the use of a walker can lead to locomotor problems and distorted walking patterns. Furthermore, if walkers act to replace the crawling stages of development, children can be looking at hindered cognitive development associated with natural evolutionary learning processes.
When an infant is growing and developing, it’s body is changing and strengthening at a rapid pace. Everything that a baby or toddler does affects the way their spine and nervous system develops – ultimately impact the quality of health they enjoy during growth and in later life.
Using a walker when a child is too young or seemingly not ready can grossly affect bone strength, growth and muscle coordination. This is because if a child is not ready to cope with certain physical pressures on their spine, unnatural behaviours may occur and lead to long-lasting developmental issues. Research also backs these claims, suggesting that prematurely forcing children to assume an upright position was visible in later stages of life compared to those that did not use a walker.
But more than this, the dangers can also be more obvious. Research has also shown that as many as one in three infants who use walkers suffer significant injuries including skull fracture, concussion, spinal fractures, finger amputations and in some cases, death.
If you’re concerned about the health of your child’s spine or have any concerns about the toys or tools they’ve been engaged with, please don’t hesitate to bring it up at your next visit to us.
Our Chiropractors in Adelaide can recommend some resources to you if you have any concerns regarding the developmental phases of your child’s neurological and musculoskeletal development.