Baby Walkers May Slow Development

A report published in the October 1999 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics states that baby walkers can not only slow physical development but can also slow mental development as well. These results came out of a study of 109 children by two researchers, Siegel and Burton.

The researchers reported that the devices blocked the children from seeing their legs thus blocking the feedback needed for development of these important motor skills. Without seeing their legs the children developed more slowly. In addition the researchers reported that children who crawl are stimulated by objects in their environment while children in walkers were limited in their exploring.

The 109 babies were studied as three groups. One group did not use walkers at all. One group used newer walkers with trays that the child could not see through, and one group used older walkers with smaller trays making it easier for the child to see their feet.

The results were that on average children who did not use walkers could sit up at 5.39 months, crawl at 5.84 months and walk at 10.82 months. Babies with the see feet walkers, could sit up at 5.99 months, crawl at 6.23 months and walk at 10.70 months. Those babies that were in walkers and could not see their feet could sit up at 6.73 months, crawl at 6.68 months and walk at 11.66 months.