Fall Injury Interventions

Walkers

Background

Infant walkers have been a very common element of households with small children.23  It has been estimated that 70-80% of infants will use a walker, mostly between 5 and 12 months of age.24,25  However, 30-40% of these infants will be injured in the walker.24,25  While most are minor, serious injuries can occur. These are usually due to falls down stairs or off porches, or burns due to pulling hot foods down on themselves or coming into contact with hot objects.26,27

Educational programs to decrease parental use of walkers have been tried but none have been evaluated. However, two-thirds of infants had been placed in the walker subsequent to an injury from the walker.26  Less than half the homes which had not had stair gates had acquired them two months later.26  The CPSC has not regulated walkers in the U.S., while in Canada walkers are required to be large enough not to fit through doorways. The effect of this regulation is unknown.

More recently, manufacturers have started to produce stationary "walkers" which allow the child to move within the device, but do not allow the device itself to move. While these devices have not been evaluated, they should effectively eliminate any risk of injury.