The dangers of baby walkers: Unattended 8-month-old drowns in shallow water
The baby boy reportedly wandered off alone when his walker tipped over, submerging him in 2-inch pool of water for several minutes...
Baby walkers are intended help ease babies into walking without support. But there’s a lot of advice out there cautioning against using baby walkers. And for two Hong Kong parents, learning about baby walker dangers came to them in the most heartbreaking way.
According to a report by Coconuts Hong Kong, the eight-month-old baby boy was at a barbecue with his parents at a luxury apartment in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong when the incident happened.
The boy reportedly wandered off in his walker, which then tipped over, submerging him headfirst in a shallow trough of water just two inches deep.
It took several minutes before his parents found him along with lifeguards who tried to resuscitate the boy. CCTV footage revealed the baby was underwater for about seven minutes.
As of this writing, the baby is unconscious and in critical condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s intensive care unit.
Some parents still favor the use of walkers because it keeps babies mobile and entertained. It is even a way to keep them steady during feeding. According to a past study, a third of parents believe that walkers help keep their babies safe.
However, some pediatricians discourage against their use. This is because walkers can delay development, and as cases like the one above show, there are baby walker dangers we should know about.
“Walkers are unsafe,” Dr. Gary Smith, a pediatrician and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio told ABC News. “Children are still being injured in them. There should be a ban on the sale and manufacture of walkers.”
Some of the most common walker-related injuries involve head and neck injuries due to falling down the stairs or hitting their heads on the pavement.
Tipping over in a walker commonly happens at eight months old. Babies normally start taking their first steps between nine to 12 months old. But it can take up to 16 to 17 months for them to walk well without support.
If you do choose a walker for your pre-ambulatory baby, remember these reminders:
The importance of keeping a close watch on kids at all times cannot be overstated. Walker-related injuries can happen in an instant, especially because babies can roll from a few steps to four feet quickly in walkers.
Check the product description. Is it safe for babies of a certain height and weight? Is it wide enough not to fit through doorways (around 36 inches)? If a walker isn’t right for your baby’s age, it could easily tip over.
Some walkers come with toys and objects to keep a baby entertained. Make sure they don’t come with loose strings or detachable parts that could become choking or strangulation hazards.
Finger entrapment is another one of the baby walker dangers parents should know about. Make sure the walker is free of risky parts where fingers and toes can get stuck.
Naturally, we shouldn’t leave babies in walkers near stairs. Childproof gates should also be installed to be safe.
Using walkers is ultimately a parent’s choice. But it is a decision that should involve knowing all the risks involved and taking the necessary precautions.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore