Should you buy a baby walker?

Consumer Reports News: July 03, 2007 02:16 PM

Sara writes: "I thought walkers weren't safe. If that's the case, why are they still on the market?"

It's true that walkers are a major safety hazard--or were until 1997 when walker safety standards were improved to protect against stairway falls (a leading cause of walker-related injuries). According to this standard, walkers must either have a bottom friction strip to stop the walker if its wheels drop over the edge of a step, or be too wide to fit through a 36-inch-wide doorway.

Walker-related incidents have declined since the 1997 standard was introduced. In 2003 (the latest available government data), the number of injuries from walkers to children younger than 15 months was 3,200, an 88 percent reduction since 1992. Some of this reduction may be the result of stationary activity centers supplanting wheeled walkers as the product of choice. Still, even with friction strips, we think 3,200 injuries are too many, and don't consider conventional walkers to be 100 percent safe. Canada has banned the sale of walkers completely.

A better idea? Go with a stationary activity center instead, such as the Bright Starts Around We Go ($80) or the Deluxe Around We Go ($90).

See our reports on stationary activity centers and walkers for more information.

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