Maybe you have heard some of the downsides of using a baby walker, such as baby walkers not teaching children to walk properly or are concerned about other safety hazards—maybe baby walkers are not right for you for one reason or another. Or, perhaps you already have the best baby walker and are wondering what else is out there. So, what are some suitable alternatives to using a baby walker?
Baby Bouncers: If going the commercial product route, one of the turned to items in lieu of using a baby walker is to purchase, assemble, and use a baby bouncer. A baby bouncer provides much of the associated entertainment that a baby walker does, as many models both come with colorful toy options and a range of mobility that allows a child to engage with surroundings, and baby bouncers often have fewer safety concerns, as they are often designed to remain stationary.
Thus, parents may have decreased anxiety about children running into shelves and toppling items on top of themselves, getting into potentially dangerous materials, bumping their heads on low ledges, such as dining tables, or tumbling down stairs, for example.
Playpens: Another potential commercial option to the baby walker is allowing a child to move about and play while safely contained in a playpen. This could be a safe way for a child to develop mobility, such as the ability to rise to his or her feet from a sitting or crawling motion, which is an important process for brain and muscular development.
While a child naps, plays, or practices moving about in a playpen, parents may have an added peace of mind because children are contained to a specific area. However, as children develop further, it is important to ensure that the area is free of other hazards, such as cleaning products or cords which might be in reach. Also, it is natural for children to learn to climb, and they may begin climbing out of the playpen. Proper supervision is important to maintaining a child’s safety.
Natural walking and floor time: Perhaps the most obvious, noncommercial alternative option to baby walkers is to allow a child to learn to walk naturally on the floor. A child should be given time to learn to coordinate the movements necessary to crawl and move about. Crawling is an important developmental stage that should not be prematurely skipped or pushed past. While a baby learns to crawl, the baby is developing important patterns in the brain which play important roles in development and learning down the line.
If allowed supervised floor time, a baby may naturally start to crawl over to furniture and learn to use the furniture to pull himself or herself up, as well as use it for a balancing guide. This is a great alternative to baby walkers because children develop more natural patterns of walking and muscular development, which is different than those who are placed in baby walkers in hopes of learning to walk faster.
Regardless of the alternative method, safety and supervision are important to allow baby to continue through the exciting stages of development.