It is important to teach our children independence while helping them progress when they reach developmental milestones.
When your little one is building her strength, beginning to stand on her own and getting ready for those first steps, you can help her feel confident and practice taking those steps on her own with the help of a baby walker.
There are TWO BASIC TYPES of baby walkers: push walkers and classic walkers.
What is a Baby Push Walker?
Think of a push toy like a walker – the type you may see accompanied by elderly people. They are usually convertible (from floor play to walking) and stand almost like an easel with wheels and a handle, giving your baby stability to help them stand and mobility.
What is a Classic (Traditional) Baby Walker?
Traditional baby walkers often double as entertainment centers. Just place your baby in the center bucket seat, which is built into a wheeled frame that is typically covered with toys, and she can push her way around the house with her little toes.
Between the two, a push walker is usually the better choice for most parents and babies.
Reasons to Choose a Push Walker
There are a few reasons to favor the push walker over traditional walkers, with the main reason being that push walkers are safer. We will take a look at a few of the other reasons why push walkers are a better option than traditional walkers.
With a push walker, your baby has better control over her body and the walker itself. She is not trapped or attached to it, which means she can let go if the walker were to roll away or fall down the stairs. She also has better control over her speed and the direction she is heading. Please remember, even though push walkers are generally safer for your baby, you should never leave her to practice or play with it alone.
Learning to walk is a new skill your baby is learning, and it will take time, practice and a few falls. Providing as safe environment for them to learn this new skill is imperative. Even though push walkers are considered fairly safe, you do not want to leave your baby unattended.
2. Potential Interference with Baby Development
It is believed that classic walkers can hinder babies’ physical development. The bucket seat does not offer proper spinal support, which can cause your baby to slouch or put undue pressure on her joints. There is also the concern with potential hip problems since your baby cannot properly place her feet on the ground.
When introducing a walker of any kind, it is important to remember to make sure your baby is ready for it. It is natural to want your baby to walk but introducing walkers before your little one is developmentally ready can have an impact on their development.
3. Positive Impact of a Push Walker
Push walkers, on the other hand, rely on your baby’s personal strength rather than offer passive support and causing your baby to be “lazy.” She is required to be able to stand firmly on her own two feet and support her full weight, taking real steps in order to move rather than drag herself around by her toes and hanging legs.
If you are considering a walker, a push walker does come with more positives than negatives. The biggest advantage of the push walker is that your baby has to do a lot of the “work”. They don’t simply sit in the walker but have to pull themselves up and move the walker forward.
4. Push Walker Provides Additional Entertainment
While classic walkers do often come with various attached toys, push walkers have more to offer when not being used as a walker. Even if they are only able to lie or sit on the floor, there are many interactive toys available they can play with. Some even have music or sound effects that only play when the toy is rolling, giving your child more motivation to walk.
The majority of push walkers on the market today have dual functions. Many double up as toy centers for your little one and some even offer storage options and come with removeable toys like blocks. The advantage of this is that even after your baby learns to walk, they will still be able to play with the walker.
5. Less Space: Easier to Store, Easier to Manage
Classic walkers take up a lot of space. There is hardly ever a good place to store them in your home, so they end up staying out in the open or in the middle of the floor. Push walkers are often collapsible, which means they can be stored under the bed or in a closet much easier than an oversized traditional walker can.
Push walkers come in a range of different sizes and shapes, but many have been designed to take up less space, this means you are easily able to transport the walker and storing it is not an issue as many are compact or can be folded.
Bonus Points - Independence
Push walkers are great for teaching children independence. When they pull themselves up to hold onto the walker, they are using all of their muscles and as they push the walker forward, they are leaning how to walk safely and securely. It may take them a few tries before they can pull themselves up, but this struggle is beneficial and will help build their confidence.
As they get better and better and controlling and maneuvering the push walker, they will become more independent and ultimately move the walker fast. Eventually they will feel confident enough to try standing alone or even taking a few steps on their own.
Bonus Points - Push Walkers are Not Banned Anywhere
In Canada classic baby walkers have been banned. There have also been numerous discussions by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about possibly banning baby walkers in the United States as well. There is good reason for this, research is showing that baby walkers may do more harm than good to babies.
One of the main reasons the walkers were banned in Canada was the risk of head injuries to babies if they fall forward out of the walkers. Push walkers, however, are not banned, as they function quite differently to classic walkers.
Best Baby Push Walker on the Market: VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker
When looking at your options for a push walker, it is easy to say that the reviews unanimously point to the VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker. It comes in two color variations (orange and lavender), and offers many different toys to help develop motor skills and stimulate your child’s imagination.
One of the best things about this walker is that it can be used from a young age, even before your child is ready to walk. The toy panel can be easily removed and placed on the floor; even your baby who is only at the sitting stage can enjoy the piano, shape sorter, phone, and songs.
Pros: The wheels are another great feature. They can roll on both carpet and hard floors, which means it can be used in any household. There are also a brake setting, which can either be used to keep the walker in place or work as a speed reducer to keep your little one safe.
Cons: Every product has its downside, though this one does not have many. Like many push walkers, the plastic is lightweight, which means it may tip easily if your child puts her full weight on it to pull herself to standing. It can also be a bit of a headache to some parents with all of the noise, music, and lights, which can even continue even if it is not being played with (if you do not switch it off).
Alternatives If You Don’t Want Push or Classic Walker
Walkers are not mandatory; your baby will still learn to walk if they do not have a push walker. In fact, if you just let your child develop with the items around them, they will still learn to walk. Babies can (and will) use anything to pull themselves when they want to start walking.
You can use activity centers to encourage your baby to stand, as long as they can pull themselves up safely, they are learning. You could also consider a balance box; this is a walker, but it does not have wheels so allows your baby a lot more control.
If You Use Walker: Here Is How to Do It
If you would like to get your baby a push walker, there are a few things to keep in mind to do so safely. Make sure you limit the time they use the walker to 10 minutes, make sure that their feet are always flat on the ground and make sure you are watching your baby constantly.
Is baby push walker banned somewhere?
Baby push walkers are not banned. Classic baby walkers are banned in some countries but not push walkers.
Are push walkers bad for babies as classic walkers?
If you are looking for a walker for your baby, a push walker is the safer option.
What’s the difference between push and classic baby walkers?
Push walkers require your baby to pull themselves up while classic baby walkers have a “seat” for your baby to sit in while the use their feet to move.
Overall, push walkers are a much better alternative over classic walkers for emergent walkers. They keep babies safer and do a much better job in aiding babies’ physical development.
What do you think? Do you have any questions about our assessment of push walkers versus traditional?
Let us know, and share this post if you know other parents that may find it informative.