A new study reveals that 2,000 babies are injured in the U.S. each year by infant walkers. The American Academy of Pedriatrics is flat-out calling for a ban on these popular baby products.
The startling statistics support the doctors’ stance that the walkers – while convenient and entertaining for parents – are dangerous for babies.
Baby walkers have injured thousands
Infant walkers are saucer-shaped baby products that enable babies to “walk” while suspended in a sling. But if left unattended for only a few moments, infants can quickly propel themselves into harm’s way, such as pushing themselves down open staircases or into swimming pools.
According to the study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, from 1990 to 2014 more than 230,000 infants and toddlers received emergency room treatment related to infant walkers. Many suffered severe trauma such as skull fractures, concussions, broken bones and internal injuries.
Is it time to ban infant walkers in the U.S.?
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics and several consumer and parent groups petitioned the federal Consumer Products Safety Commission to ban sales of baby walkers. The proposal was denied. While some manufacturers voluntarily altered their products to make them safer, thousands more children have died or suffered serious injuries.
In 2010, The CPSC finally cracked down on the manufacture and testing of infant walkers, requiring brakes and other safety measures. Injuries did decrease significantly, yet baby walkers still result in 2,000 emergency room visits each year.
Canada has shown the way. Injuries declined after manufacturers adopted a voluntary standard in 1989, but it was not enough. Canada banned infant walkers outright in 2004.
The AAP has renewed its call for a total ban in the United States. Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, chair of the pediatrician group’s Committee on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, doesn’t mince words. He said infant walkers are “inherently dangerous objects that have no benefit whatsoever and should not be sold in the U.S.”