Updated: Nov 22, 2022
It’s a baby product so it’s safe for my baby, right? Maybe not …
A short guide to rational baby product use for walkers, jumpers & other entertainment seating products:
Having your hands free for a few minutes can be a great relief for parents and caretakers. Picking up toys, doing the dishes, preparing a meal for your family or bottles for your baby while your little one is happy, entertained and in a safe environment - it can take a load off your shoulders. So how can we use these products in a responsible and rational way?
It’s a baby product and approved for use so I can just use it as I see fit right? It should be safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily true. Rational baby product use is when a product is used for its intended use, under the correct circumstances and for the right amount of time.
Let’s talk about baby furniture and toys. Walkers, Jumpers, Swings, Activity Centres, and other entertainment-based seating products.
When can my baby start using a baby walking ring?
The right time to introduce a baby walker depends on your child’s size, strength, and development. It’s recommended that your baby should be able to hold his head up and have his feet able to touch the floor or footpad while using these products. Most walkers are designed for use by infants from the age of 4 to 16 months. According to EN 1273:2020 standard, one should only use a walker for a baby who can sit unassisted & until the baby can walk unassisted and weighs up to 12kg. This can be used as a guideline for seating products where your baby sits upright, like walkers, jumpers and activity centres as well.
What time intervals can I place my baby in these types of products?
Always be aware of your baby’s’ cues. If your baby seems tired or irritable when placed in the product, rather take them out. Never leave your baby in these products for extended periods of time. Your baby is still developing, including their muscles and posture. General opinions of suitable time spans to place your baby in these products vairy from 15 to 25 minutes.
Prepping your home for using these types of products is extremely important. Safety-check your house first for all possible dangers. Never leave your baby unsupervised & maintain visual contact. This prevents accidents from happening.
Here are a few tips on safety proofing your home
Keep in mind that your baby will be able to reach further and move rapidly when in the walker.
Only use on flat, level & stable surfaces.
Prevent access to stairs, steps, slopes and uneven surfaces.
Baby Safety doors are widely available to install in your home.
Prevent access to water sources such as, but not limited to pools & ponds.
Guard all fires, heating & cooking appliances.
Prevent access to hot liquid, electrical cables, wires, and unprotected plug points. Plug covers can help to keep your little one safe.
Prevent access to harmful substances. Baby proof cupboard locks is an easy way to secure cupboards that your baby should not have access to.
Prevent collision with glass doors, windows & furniture.
Prevent baby impact with low furniture edges & corners. Corner guards can be used to cover sharp edges.
If using outdoors, do not expose your baby to direct sunlight for prolonged periods.
A good tip is to consciously walk through your house looking for all possible hazards and addressing them prior to using these products, especially if your baby will be able to move. This also pre-preps your house for when your little one starts to crawl and walk.
Does using these products reduce the need for floor and tummy time?
Absolutely NOT! Floor and tummy time is essential for your baby's development both physically and mentally. It enables them to develop their muscles and balance and eventually leads to crawling which is an equally important milestone. Make sure to spend floor time with your baby. Sitting and playing with them is good for their development and bonding with you.
The benefits of multi-use products
Multi-use products can save you time and money. Walkers with a push along function are a great plus as your baby can use it as a supporting system when they start learning to walk independently. Walkers with high quality brake pads are essential. It also comes in handy when the baby starts using it as a push along walker as the brake pads still contribute to safety when it is pushed along.
Consider your baby’s level of comfort
When purchasing these products keep in mind that your baby’s comfort is determined by the seating area and not the nature of the toys. Ask yourself the following questions. Is the seating area soft or hard? Does it offer sufficient support? Is it hip safe?
For more information about hip safety, check out our previous blog: Hip Dysplasia & Hip Instability in Babies
Preventing toe walking
Ensure that your baby's feet are flat on the ground when using these products. Check out our blog on toe walking: Keeping you, not your baby, on your toes
Important things to avoid when using these products
Never leave your baby unsupervised and maintain visual contact
Don’t neglect to safety-check the area
Never ignore your babies cues
Never let your baby sleep in these products as they are not designed for sleeping
Never leave your baby in these products for extended periods of time
Never use these products for anything other than their intended purpose
Never allow access to stairs
Products like baby walkers, jumpers and activity centres are a great way of keeping your baby entertained and having your hands free for appropriate amounts of time is a plus. When shopping for these products, opt for products that are comfortable for your baby instead of just looking at the entertainment features like toys. Ensure proper use and safeguard your little one by taking the necessary steps to baby-proof your house and never letting them out of sight.