Baby-Walkers: An Avoidable Source of Hazard

Sabir H, Mayatepek E, Schaper J, Tibussik D. Baby-Walkers: An Avoidable Source of Hazard. Lancet 5 December 2008; 372(9654):2000.

COMMENTS: In the Gonstead and other seminars, we have always heard about how baby walkers prevent proper neurological development that comes from crawling. There is a more immediate hazard, injuries. They are banned in Canada. This is a case report on an 11-month-old infant who was in a baby walker and fell down 15 steps.

The infant was alert but had a temporary bloody nose and bruise on the forehead. Within the hour, she became “apathetic” so the parent took her to emergency (in Germany). The infant deteriorated over the next couple of days with respiratory and kidney failure (both came back later) and flaccid paralysis of the limbs. CT and x-ray studies were negative. An MRI was taken and swelling of the spinal cord was found. The diagnosis was spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormalities (SCIWORA). She gradually recovered of the following 9 months. She died a year and a half after the injury of cardiac arrest while having respiratory distress (perhaps from VSC?).

Baby walkers are bad not only for affecting neurological development but also for the risk of serious injury. Why would anyone have one on an upper floor or a floor with a set of steps down?