When will my 4-month-old be ready for a walker?
must be quite strong and progressing very well with regard to his large muscles. Some parents do start to use walkers for their infant
s at his age, or more often at 6 months or later. However, despite the fact that many parents use walkers, there are important concerns about their use.
First, these devices actually hinder the process of learning to walk. They do help to strengthen muscles in the lower legs, but they don't do a good job of strengthening the muscles in the upper legs and hips that are used most in walking. In fact, babies sometimes lose their desire to walk because they can get around so easily with the aid of the walker.
Second, walkers can present a safety hazard. Since the walker aids the child's mobility at a much earlier age, the child can then get to places, such as stairways, that are a common source of accidents. Every year, injuries associated with walkers lead to numerous emergency room visits. It's true that recent versions of walkers, such as Exersaucers, have a broader base and don't tip over as easily as older walkers, but they still cause many accidents.
So, if you do choose to use a walker, let your baby
use it only for short periods while you watch him carefully. Make sure your baby
has opportunities to develop all of his muscles by allowing him to be in other positions as well, such as sitting, lying on his tummy when he's awake and you're with him, being on his back, etc. Always be aware of possible safety hazards when he's in the walker and at all other times.