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There’s nothing cuter than the sight of a wobbly baby taking her first steps, and many parents turn to a baby walker to help their little one become mobile. However, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, these devices are responsible for thousands of injuries to children each year.
An estimated 230,676 children under the age of 15 months visited an emergency room for injuries related to a baby walker in the United States between 1990 and 2014. Most babies were hurt when they fell down the stairs while using the walkers, and the majority suffered injuries to their heads and necks. Some children have even experienced brain trauma.
In addition to falling down stairs, kids can become injured when they wander into a pool or body of water in a walker, or when they gain access to poisonous substances, hot stoves, candles or knives.
Over the years, doctors have sounded the alarm regarding the dangers of baby walkers, which resulted in higher testing standards and the addition of more safety features, like brakes.
Although these interventions did result in a significant decline in the number of injuries during the 1990s, doctors say it’s still not enough. The study’s authors said the persistent injuries from baby walkers continues to support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ proposal that the devices be banned.
“Despite making safety modifications over the years, they remain dangerous,” Dr. Katie Lockwood, attending physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told BuzzFeed News.
Instead, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of stationary activity centers that look like walkers but have no wheels, play yards or playpens or high chairs.