Baby Walker Safety Awareness Training. Introduction Section 1 – the issues surrounding baby walkers. Section 2 – advising parents and carers. Section 3 – offering alternatives to baby walkers. Section 4 - what about a ban? Section 5 – will my advice make any difference?.
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Baby Walker Safety Awareness Training
Section 1 – the issues surrounding baby walkers.
Section 2 – advising parents and carers.
Section 3 – offering alternatives to baby walkers.
Section 4 - what about a ban?
Section 5 – will my advice make any difference?
This quiz has been used with the kind permission of Dr. Kendrick.
See handout for full reference to the 2005 trial.
(National Statistics Online)
3,300 babies were taken to hospital after being injured whilst in a walker.
over 5000 baby walker related accidents in the UK.
Chartered Society of Physiotherapists estimated that baby walkers accounted for 4000 injuries a year in the UK.
2,350 babies were taken to hospital after being injured in a walker.
The bottom line
It is estimated that baby walkers are responsible for injuring more children than any other nursery product.
How far do you think a child could travel on a non-carpeted surface in a walker?
36 infants injured:
35 had fallen down stairs.
27 minor injuries to face or head.
3 needed dental treatment.
3 fractured collar bones.
Burns and scalds
11fatalities from baby walker use.
(4 drownings, 4 suffocations, 3 falls)
4 fatalities from baby walker use.
Section 2Advising parents and carers
97% of parents-to-be had alreadyheard about baby walkers pre-birth.
35% of parents had already got hold of a baby walker during this period.
Studies have shown that most midwives feel this is too early to discuss baby walkers.
Birth – 4th month period
66% of Health Visitors in the sample did not routinely discuss baby walker safety during the 3-4 month health check.
53% of parents made the decision to buy a baby walker when their child was a few
5 month period
Most (64%) Health Visitors estimated that parents will obtain their baby walkers during this period.
However, by this stage 64% of them would not have even discussed baby walkers with parents.
6 – 9 month period
Health Visitors most often discussed baby walkers for the first time here.
(Kendrick et al, 2003)
Simple, REPEATED baby walker safety training intervention is needed.
9 months of age
Don’t they offer safe supervision?
In short, no.
78-89% of infants were being supervised at the time of the accident.
The bottom line
No matter how well a child is supervised, walkers allow a child to move into danger much faster than any parent can react to prevent the injury occurring.
Aren’t they a walking aid?
30-59% of parents believe that walkers aid child development.
There is no evidence to show that walkers aid walking development.
In fact, they show the opposite…
At least 6 studies carried out between 1977-1999 show that walkers hamper a child’s development.
1. The infant may attempt walking-like movements which, in a walker, create some forward movement. However, if the infant was trying to walk without the walker, these movements would be incorrect (for example, pushing from the tip-toes) but within the walker these movements create forward motion and are therefore reinforced.
2. If correct walking-like movements are used, the child’s view of their feet is often obscured by the frame of the walkers. This means that the correct movement is not registered in their visual field, and therefore cannot be reinforced.
A large study in 2000, nearly 200 infants were analysed. Walker and non-walker groups were compared.
Those who used walkers achieved crawling, standing alone and walker later than those who did not use a walker.
Walker use was not found to help sitting, standing with support or walking with support.
The bottom line
‘There is absolutely no evidence that (baby walkers) encourage children to walk any earlier – in fact, there is medical research that shows they may actually damage hip joints by putting too much weight on them too early.’
Aren’t they fun for the child?
Yes, they might appear to be fun.
However, with no developmental benefits and an increased safety risk, why put a child in one?
The Child Accident Prevention Trust states how important for children to experience floor play, as it helps develop correct motor skills.
Isn’t labelling enough?
Labelling walkers with warning labels has not proven to be effective.
In the United States labelling has taken place since 1997, but there continued to be a steady increase in baby walker injury.
Isn’t it OK if a new, wider design walker is used?
Wider-design walkers can prevent some stair falls (by preventing an infant leaving a room).
However, tip-over injuries, contact burns and scalds, and poisonings are all still possible.
One Australian study found that even by taking out the fall injuries, 50% of walker injuries would still occur.
Section 3Offering alternatives to baby walkers
If supervision is the issue – encourage parents to use a crib or play pen.
If entertainment is the issue – recommend a stationary activity centre:
Section 4What about a ban?
‘Our advice – don’t use one.’
‘Elimination of baby walkers is being promoted as the safety strategy at present.’
‘Baby walkers should be prohibited.’
‘The sale and use [of baby walkers] should be actively discouraged.’
‘Baby walkers are dangerous..Don’t tick this box until you have thrown yours out.’
Section 5Will my advice make any difference at all?
~ own or use a walker
~ recommend a walker to a friend
~ agree with the claim that walkers are safe.
This training pack, and the information you take out to colleagues and parents forms a vital part of the first 2 stages of this process.
Thank you for your valuable work!
How much have you learn?
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