- Having fun while playing with Baby happens through your sensitive and safe interactions.
- Have a soft comfortable floor surface for you and Baby to play together.
- Make sure that if you have objects/mobiles hanging from a frame on the floor for the baby to look at and grasp that it is sturdy and that the objects are secured.
Warnings about Play Devices: Baby Walkers
A baby walker is a seat in a frame on castor wheels used to mobilise a baby around a room or outdoors before she can walk proficiently. With the baby's feet touching the ground she is able to propel herself at a rapid speed around a space. While this may seem like fun for the baby, Australian research figures show baby walkers cause the highest incidents of accidental head injuries to babies who are less than 12 months old.
While paediatric health experts advise against their use they are still available for sale in Australia. Canada banned the sale of baby walkers in 2004.
So, how do babies get injured from these walkers? They fall from them or are struck when the walker gathers speed and is propelled into an obstacle, topples down stairs or simply stumbles on carpet and floor rugs. Other injuries that have occurred from babies in walkers are burns and poisoning (from babies accessing dangerous areas in the home) drowning from toppling into water, and entrapment which can crush or amputate their tiny fingers.
You might be thinking that all these accidents have occurred because of parents' lack of supervision and this device may have some advantages for babies' development if they are supervised.
Research studies have shown that babies' gross motor development (discussed in Development and Learning → Physical Development) can be impaired from the overuse of baby walkers. Babies' body weight is suspended away from the legs when sitting in the walkers, as well as them not having the opportunity to exercise their whole body. Babies' ability to crawl, stand and walk alone appears to be significantly delayed compared to babies whose motor development has been encouraged through play.
A warning about Jolly Jumpers
A Jolly Jumper is a pouch-like seat and is suspended from a spring device that is attached to a frame or a door jam. When the baby is in the pouch his legs dangle, and with his body movements and feet touching the floor the suspension of the spring bounces him up and down. While the incidence of injuries to infants caused by these devices has not been published, the overuse of jolly jumpers has been shown to hinder development because the infants' weight from their legs is suspended and their movements are restricted. If for some 'particular reason' a parent needs to use this device, Baby's time in it should be limited during a day as she needs plenty of other types of fun so her large motor skills (rolling, sitting, crawling, walking) can develop.