Babies suffer head injuries from walkers; yet they’re in widespread use in Canada

Safe Kids Canada says baby walkers should be banned and destroyed. 

Montreal, Qc, June 2, 2003 – The results of a new survey that was unveiled today by Safe Kids Canada and Johnson & Johnson shows nearly one-third (32 per cent) of parents use or have recently used baby walkers with wheels (the type that a baby sits in), for their young children. 

Approximately 1,000 babies are injured every year while using a walker – nearly three walker injuries every day. An estimated half a million baby walkers are currently in Canadian homes, based on the survey findings.

“Baby walkers should be banned.  It should be illegal to sell them in Canada,” says Allyson Hewitt, executive director of Safe Kids Canada. “It’s alarming that so many parents are still using them because they cause more serious injuries than any other children’s product.  More than half of these are head injuries.”

Baby walkers allow children more freedom to move, enabling them to reach hazards more quickly than they could on their own.  Ninety-five per cent of walker injuries are  a result of a child falling, most often down stairs. A serious head injury is twice as likely, compared to an ordinary fall down the stairs.

Other common injuries are scalds because the walker makes it possible for children to reach hazards in the kitchen.    

Safe Kids Canada is calling on Health Canada to ban the sale of baby walkers.  In addition, they are urging all Canadian parents to stop using their baby walkers and to destroy them so other families cannot re-use them.  

“There’s no such thing as a safe baby walker.  Our goal is to wipe out walkers – to get them out of the system and prevent injury to babies,” says Hewitt.  “A child in a walker can cover one metre in a second – faster than it takes for a parent to respond.  Nature never meant for babies to have that much mobility.  They’re not ready for the risks involved.”

Today marks the launch of Safe Kids Week 2003, which runs from June 2 to 8.

The nation-wide campaign, conducted by Safe Kids Canada and Johnson & Johnson is aimed at educating Canadian parents about product safety, with a particular focus on baby walkers.

Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
Last updated: January 2009