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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK
Ban baby walkers, say physios
Baby
Babies 'should be able to explore their environment'
Baby walkers are responsible for injuring 4,000 children a year and should be banned, say physiotherapists.

They also claim that baby walkers disrupt the ability of children to develop walking and visual skills, and stop them from properly exploring their surroundings.

A motion calling for a ban was overwhelmingly backed at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists' (CSP) annual conference in Eastbourne.

Walkers are used by more than 250,000 babies in the UK.



Parents buy baby walkers because they believe they will keep their children safe. Physiotherapists know this is not the case

Lynda Rowe, physiotherapist

Physiotherapist Lynda Rowe said: "The CSP has already highlighted the potential dangers of baby walkers, both in the media and amongst MPs.

"New research from the USA has shown that the use of baby walkers can interfere with babies' development of visual-motor skills and also deprive them of the learning activities afforded by exploration."

Studies have shown that children who have used baby walkers take longer to sit upright, crawl and walk.

A recent study also found that babies who had been in walkers did not perform as well in simple mental tests.

Ms Rowe said 4,000 babies a year in the UK were hurt in the walkers, with injuries from burns and grazes to head injuries.

She said: "Parents buy baby walkers because they believe they will keep their children safe and help them to learn to walk.

"Physiotherapists know this is not the case and we are calling on the CSP to join forces with other health organisations to launch a campaign to have them banned."



The baby walker should only be used when there is an adult present to ensure the area in which the child has mobility is free from danger

Mothercare spokeswoman

A spokeswoman for the children's shop chain Mothercare, which manufactures baby walkers, said: "Mothercare has always emphasised that the environment in which baby walkers are used are fundamental to their safety.

"The baby walker should only be used when there is an adult present to ensure the area in which the child has mobility is free from danger.

"Baby walkers should only be used on a smooth surface, free from major obstruction, and for a limited time period as they are not a training aid."

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02 Dec 98 | Health
Call for ban on babywalkers
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