MCH - The Montreal Children's Hospital urges government to uphold ban on baby walkers



Montreal June 27, 2006 - Two years ago, little Meily was scooting around the kitchen in her baby walker. The eight-month old was not able to walk, but her walker gave her mobility and height as well as giving her parents a false sense of security. As she pushed passed the stove she reached up and pulled on a cord. A kettle filled with scalding water came splashing down on her. As a result, Meily sustained serious burns to her face and body requiring hospitalization and the care of many trauma specialists.

Meily's story is just one example of an injury caused by a baby walker. Each year some 1,000 infants and toddlers are treated in emergency rooms across Canada – approximately three injuries every day. In 2004, Health Canada banned the sale of baby walkers. But this ban is now being challenged.

"The government must uphold the ban on baby walkers. It should continue to be illegal to sell them in Canada," says Debbie Friedman, Administrative Director of the Trauma Program at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC. "As a Trauma Centre that advocates for the safety of children we would be exceedingly disappointed if walkers were once again sold in Canada because they cause serious trauma, including burns, brain injuries, fractures, etc. In my opinion a reversal of the ban would be taking three steps backwards after finally taking one step forward.” Friedman further emphasizes that it does not make sense for babies who cannot walk to be on wheels since they do not have the cognitive abilities to determine environmental risks. There are other good alternatives available to parents on the market that do not have this degree of potential danger.

The sale of baby walkers was officially banned in March 2004 under a section of the Federal Hazardous Products Act. An unnamed Canadian distributor of baby products has asked Health Canada to reconsider the two-year-old ban on the wheeled devices that allow babies that are too young to walk to be mobile. Earlier this month, the ministry announced it had formed a three-member board of review to examine the issue.


For more information please contact:

Lisa Dutton
Manager Public Relations and Communications
The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC