Baby Walkers…beware! (Pedcast)

Baby walkers are fun for infants and can be useful for parents.  They just aren’t safe!  Dr Smolen lays out the facts about these devices and encourages parents to stay away.  This is a must listen to podcast for anyone considering using an infant walker.

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Transcript:

-Dr Paul Smolen
-Welcoming you to another edition of DocSmo.com
-Empowering parents with practical, portable mp3’s about parenting and childhood health issues
-Your free pediatric education at the click of a mouse
-Covering topics to help parents with their children from the gestation to graduation.
In today’s cast, I am going to talk about baby walkers, a device that many parents love.
-I must admit, we used one with our first child and fortunately we had no big problems with it‘s use … but since then I have had 30 years of practicing general pediatrics, I have seen children sustain many injuries from their use. If I had an infant today, I wouldn’t let them touch one.
-So lets talk about the problems with infant walkers in today’s pedcast, shall we!
-Before we get into the nitty gritty of today’s talk, I want to remind my listeners that by listening to this pod cast, you are agreeing to my terms and conditions posted on my website. This pedcast is not intended to give specific advice for any individual child but rather is informational in nature.

-In 2001, the Academy of Pediatrics took a strong position against walkers for young children…but even before this, most of my pediatric colleagues didn’t like them.
-We were often seeing children hurt accidentally using these devices.
– I have personally seen children sustain major head injuries while falling down stairs in a walker, receive long bone fractures falling off a deck in such a device, get burns on the hand touching a hot oven door that they could only reach because they were in a walker,, and acquiring serious splinters in their feet using their walker barefoot on a wooden deck.
-While no injury is a good one, I think the most common and serious from walkers come from falling down stairs. Rather than rolling down the stairs, the walker facilitates repeated head injuries on the way down the stairs.
-Seems like the babies are much less likely to get seriously injured falling down the stairs au natural, rolling down the stairs, than with a walker supporting them.

-With about 3 million walkers sold a year in the US, you can see that there are plenty of babies out there flying around their houses in such devices, potentially getting hurt.
-Between 12-40% of these children sustained an injury, the severe injuries being fractures and closed head injuries…almost all caused by falling down stairs.
-So the AAP took action back in 2001 to try and stop these needless injuries.
-I have posted their full statement for you to read in my SmoNotes but here are the highlights:
Walkers are dangerous, especially prone to falling down stairs, and should not be used.
If a parent wants to use a supporting device, get a stationary seat without the chance of mobility and subsequent falls.
While many parents think that walkers may enhance their child’s development and strength, the opposite is actually true… they actually slow down a child’s motor and cognitive development.
Experts feel that walkers pose such a strong risk to children that they encourage doctors and public health officials to warn parents of their dangers and the AAP believes that an attempt should be made to remove the millions of walkers available to young children. They also believe that their use should be banned in child care facilities.
They don’t mince words do they. They think they are evil!
-So, if you get a walker as a gift, I recommend that you take it back and exchange it for something else that is safer… or even better yet, get a refund and put that money toward buying some books that you can read to your child.
-Now that you know the facts about walkers, if you get the urge to buy one of these for your baby, I recommend that you go in the backyard and get a stick to hit yourself with until you have more sense.
-When it comes to matters of your child’s safety, remember this DocSmo pearl…When a child gets a bad injury, both the child and the parent receive matching scars.

-Well, that’s today’s installment of DocSmo.com, from your host, Dr Paul Smolen
– I hope you learned something today and enjoyed broadening your pediatric knowledge base.
-If you enjoyed this episode of DocSmo.com, check our ever growing library of pedcasts and articles… and tell a friend about DocSmo while you are at it.
-All of my content is available at my website, DocSmo.com, as well as on itunes, face book or twitter.
– I hope you and your family have a great day full of laughter and love.
This is your pedcast host, Dr Paul Smolen, broadcasting from the beautiful studio 1E, hoping to be a straight talker, when it comes to the subject of a baby walker.

Until next time

Smo Notes:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/pages/Baby-Walkers-A-Dangerous-Choice.aspx

http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/3/790
*By listening to this pedcast, you are agreeing to Doc Smo’s terms and conditions.

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