Commissioner's Blog: Baby walkers – buy smart, use safely
With Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard
Baby walkers are a common sight in family homes. But they can be a dangerous product with more than 100 children ending up in hospital emergency departments each year because of baby walker accidents.
Consumer research shows that 32 per cent of carers placed no restrictions on where a baby walker was used, which is really concerning. A baby walker allows a young child to travel a distance to an unsafe area, such as stairs.
Consumer Protection and Australia’s product safety regulators are looking to educate parents and carers who are considering purchasing a baby walker, or giving one as a gift or hand-me-down. We want to raise awareness of the dangers and encourage safe use.
Babies in trip or fall accidents involving baby walkers commonly suffer head or facial injuries from hitting the ground. However, being able to manoeuvre around rooms and access normally out-of-bounds things in a baby walker, means little ones can be hospitalised due to burns from hot food or drinks or being hurt by sharp objects.
You may have used a baby walker with one child without incident but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Before purchasing or using a baby walker check for safety features. Baby walkers must have a mechanism to help reduce the chance of a child toppling down stairs and steps and they should also have a warning label.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembly and use carefully by:
- supervising a child in a baby walker at all times;
- limiting the area a child in a baby walker can go in a home; and
- ensuring the floor where a baby walker is used is flat, even and cleared of objects.
Watch our new baby walker safety video to learn about the hazards and to know the safety features a baby walker must have – visit www.productsafety.gov.au/babywalkers.
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