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Further Evidence Against The Use Of Babywalkers

9 July 2002

While it may look like fun, the baby scooting across the floor in a babywalker faces a significant risk both of being injured and of being slowed down in their learning to crawl and walk.

A study published in the June edition of the British Medical Journal supports the view long held by the Plunket Society that parents should avoid using babywalkers. The study found babywalker users started crawling and standing or walking without support at a later age than non-users.

Babywalkers are the seats on wheels that allow babies to move around with their feet on the floor and Plunket staff and volunteers have been campaigning for years to have them banned in New Zealand.

Sue Campbell, national child safety advisor for the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society, calls them 'accidents on wheels'.

"This study provides yet another good reason to avoid using babywalkers altogether. We've known for a long time that babies are hurt far more often if they use babywalkers than if they don't.

"Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital admits around one child every month as a result of injuries related to use of babywalkers. Babies' bones are easily fractured as a result of falls from babywalkers. Injuries can be severe, and most commonly include head injuries and skull fractures. Even under supervision, accidents still occur.

"Now with this new study, there is further evidence supporting Plunket's view that babywalkers are also harmful from a developmental point of view. This study shows use of them delays the time at which babies crawl and walk on their own. They are just not a good idea at all," said Sue Campbell.


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