Read on to find out about the pros and cons of using one.

If your toddler is just learning to walk, you may be considering getting them a baby walker – a circular, wheeled device with a suspended seat in the centre for your baby to sit in. The suspended seat enables your baby’s feet to touch the ground and “walk” around, as they move from one area of the house to another. 

As a parent concerned about your child’s safety, you may have also heard that baby walkers are controversial, being a potential safety hazard for your little one. So, should you be using them? We outline the pros and cons, and suggest alternatives for helping your baby learn to walk. 

The pros of using baby walkers 

Most baby walkers are fitted with toys or other devices to keep baby engaged, and are designed to stimulate mental growth and development. Putting your child in a walker also enables you to go about your daily household talks, while your baby occupies themselves with the toys attached. 

A walker can also boost your child’s coordination, as they learn how to manoeuvre it using both their arms and legs. Their leg muscles will also get stronger as they use the walker. 

Why baby walkers are not recommended

On the flip side, baby walkers have become serious safety hazards and can actually delay walking development. For one, objects typically out of reach for a crawling baby may come within reach of a baby using a walker, and potentially cause injury.

Your little one’s toes and fingers could also become injured if the walker’s design has folding parts or hinges. Baby walkers may roll away too if they are not used on a level surface, or if brakes are not applied properly. Consequently, falls or collisions with furniture or other objects could occur and cause injuries. 

The walking motion in a walker also uses muscles very differently than when walking on one’s own. Babies tend to use their toes when they are in a walker, which tightens their leg muscles and Achilles tendons. This interferes with normal walking development. When out of the walker, they’ll want to keep using their toes as well, which is not how babies typically learn to walk. 

Using a walker also means babies spend less time on their hands and knees in a crawling position, and don’t practice sitting and pulling themselves up as often. These specific motions help strengthen the muscles that they need to stand or walk. As such, a walker may impair normal walking development.

Alternatives for baby walkers

Given the potential concerns of using a baby walker, we recommend exercising caution should you decide to get one. These alternatives are typically safer and better for babies’ development.

Push walkers: Similar to walkers, but without wheels, so your infant can practice walking by pushing and pulling on the grip.

Playmats: These provide your baby a soft, secure area to play and explore. A lot of play mats have built-in toys and games too. 

Stationary activity centres: These provide a safe, stimulating environment for your baby to play without moving around, and are equipped with attached toys. 

Sit-to-stand toys: They give babies a play surface that they reach by standing while supported in a seat in the centre. Unlike walkers, they don’t have wheels.

Here are also some products we recommend that are safe for baby: 

Baby Trend Bounce N' Dance 4-in-1 Activity Center Walker: A 4-stage activity walker with a 360 Spinning Seat for baby to access all toys around the tray.

Skip Hop Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Center: Features three stages of use, ‘sit, swivel, bounce & play’, along with clip-on toys that can be positioned based on baby’s abilities.

Skip Hop Doubleplay Reversible Playmat: Reversible playmat that provides a jumbo-size cushioned play space for baby.

Taf Toys I Love Big Mats: Puffy padded mat with colourful illustrations that stimulate parent-baby interaction and baby's emotional intelligence.

Skip Hop Explore & More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper: A jumper with a light-up cloud bounce counter to track baby's jumps and reward them with lights and music. 

Ensure your baby is at the appropriate developmental stage before using baby walker alternatives. Improper or early use can lead to hip, neck, and back injuries in infants.

How can I help my baby learn to walk?

Here are some practical tips to help baby learn to walk on their own:  

Sit: Sitting will help your little one strengthen the muscles they need when they eventually learn to stand. During play time, roll a ball back and forth to help enhance their little muscles too.

Crawl: Let your child practice moving their arms and legs at the same time. They will need these skills when it’s finally time to walk. Help them develop their movements by having them crawl from one side of the room to the other.

Pulling up: They will start to pull themselves up with the support of furniture, or your help as parents. This is when you can start working on balance and getting them familiar with the standing position. Help them pull themselves up and assist them in bending their knees to get back down to the floor.

Assisted walking: Stand behind your child, place your hands around their upper arms, and pull them up to a standing position. Gently pull one arm forward and then the other. Their feet will naturally follow as they rotate their hips to step.


If you’re concerned about your baby’s physical and motor development, consider seeking medical advice from a paedatrician. Clinics like Thomson Paediatric Centre and Thomson Surgical Centre provide quality health services for children, with experienced doctors who can support them in growth and development.

Photo: Baby Trend, iStock, Skip Hop and Taf Toys

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