A method of transport, a treasure chest of toys, a doll stroller – baby walkers are multi-functional products that should be a feature of every child’s room. Their main function is to provide children with support while they learn how to walk. The ideal position of the handle they hold onto and push is at your child’s stomach. Some baby walkers offer the possibility of adjusting the speed at which the wheels roll. Other models allow you to order a set of building blocks with it. Rubber wheels are especially good for protecting wooden or laminate floors in the home, and for reduced noise.
Learning to Walk and More
Taking the first independent steps is one of the very important milestones in the life of a child. From now on, your little one can move around like a grown-up and start grasping the world around in an entirely new way. After all, the child now has both hands free for holding or touching things, unlike when crawling. But there is still a long way to go from the toddler's first steps to secure, independent walking.
You can help your child in the process of learning to walk by providing encouragement and support. Both can be achieved, for example, with a baby walker. But what are the characteristics of a baby walker? And what should you watch out for when buying? What can a baby walker do?
The Advantages of A Proper Baby Walker
The headline already hints at the fact that not all the products sold as baby walkers really are baby walkers in the proper sense. A baby walker is a sturdy cart with four wheels and a solid bar for your child to hold onto and push along by walking behind the cart. But some products marketed as baby walkers let the child sit in a seat integrated into a device with four wheels, so the child can push himself or herself along with the feet – this is not the same as independent walking. So you should only let your child use a baby walker once the little one can stand up independently and ideally can take a few steps without support.
A baby walker offers two advantages: one, they help the child walk. The baby walker can replace the parental hand for holding onto when walking around the house. But an adult should always be nearby when the child is exploring with the baby walker. Two, the baby walker gives your child an incentive to go and explore. Most baby walkers are also toys. They can either be used to transport dolls and soft toys or they feature an activity centre.
Important: What to Watch Out For When Buying
Baby walkers are tested by the manufacturers before they get to market. So checking the specifications to see what age group they are suitable for is a good idea. But you also need to take into account that every child's development progresses differently: some children learn to walk very early on, but start speaking later, or vice versa. So consider your own child's stage of development in order to decide when a baby walker may be suitable.
As with all products for children, quality and safety are important aspects. This of course also applies to baby walkers. The walker should be made of materials free of harmful substances and should not have any sharp edges. Sturdiness and stability are essential. After all, your child is relying on the baby walker to be safe and not get too fast when your child is trying to walk – an out-of-control baby walker that rolls away is a hazard.
Ask for expert advice: It would not hurt to ask the parents of slightly older children for advice before you buy, to see which baby walkers they have had a good experience with. After all, that's the best action test.
Timing: The Best Time To Buy
As mentioned above, most manufacturers will specify the age group for which the baby walker is suitable. This should be taken as a recommendation. The exception are baby walkers with an additional use, such as ones that can be used as doll's pram or feature an activity center.