The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is urging parents to be aware of the potential dangers of baby walkers, when not used properly.
More than 100 babies visit emergency rooms in Australia each year following incidents involving baby walkers.
Children can suffer serious head or facial injuries from tripping or falling in a baby walker. Toys and other household objects left on the ground can cause a baby walker to tip over and cause an injury.
Unsupervised children in a walker can also gain access to hazardous objects such as kitchen utensils and ovens.
In Australia, the mandatory safety standard requires baby walkers to be fitted with safety features including clear safety warnings and a braking mechanism.
But non-compliant walkers can still be purchased by unsuspecting consumers. These non-compliant walkers are mostly sold by offshore suppliers through online platforms.
Even if a baby walker complies with the mandatory standard, parents and carers must take steps to ensure the safe use of a walker.
Although a compliant baby walker will have a braking mechanism, it is a last resort and may not always stop a child in a walker falling down stairs or off a step.
6 safety steps for using baby walkers
It is important to follow these safety tips each time your baby is in a walker:
- Always supervise your child in a baby walker. They should always be in reach of an adult who can prevent them accessing hazardous areas.
- Ensure the baby walker is only used on flat surfaces free of objects that could cause the walker to tip over.
- Block off access to staircases, steps, kitchens and fireplaces.
- Do not place any objects on the baby walker that could cause it to tip over.
- Make sure your baby walker has the safety features required by the mandatory standard.
- Do not leave your child in the baby walker for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Overuse can lead to developmental delays when they are learning to walk.
The ACCC has released this safety video: