They’re one of the most popular baby devices on the market, but parents are being warned they can also be one of the most dangerous if they’re not used safely.
According to the national competition regulator, over 100 children visit emergency rooms each year from accidents involving baby walkers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now urging parents and carers to be aware of the potential hazards of the walkers.
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“Children can suffer serious head or facial injuries from tripping or falling in a baby walker,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Toys and other household objects left on the ground can cause a baby walker to tip over and cause an injury.
“Unsupervised children in a walker can also gain access to hazardous objects such as kitchen utensils and ovens.”
The ACCC has also issued a warning about buying walkers online, with fears they could be non-compliant.
“Last year, the ACCC along with state and territory consumer law regulators, participated in a coordinated surveillance project on baby walkers, and found that non-compliant walkers could still be purchased by unsuspecting consumers,” they said.
“These non-compliant walkers were mostly sold by offshore suppliers through online platforms.”
In Australia, the mandatory safety standard requires baby walkers to be fitted with safety features including clear safety warnings and a braking mechanism.
“Even if a baby walker complies with the mandatory standard, parents and carers must take steps to ensure the safe use of a walker,” Ms Rickard said.
“Although a compliant baby walker will have a braking mechanism, it is a last resort and may not always stop a child in a walker falling down stairs or off a step.”
- Always supervise your child in a baby walker. They should always be in reach of an adult who can prevent them accessing hazardous areas.
- Ensure the baby walker is only used on flat surfaces free of objects that could cause the walker to tip over.
- Block off access to staircases, steps, kitchens and fireplaces.
- Do not place any objects on the baby walker that could cause it to tip over.
- Make sure your baby walker has the safety features required by the mandatory standard.
- Do not leave your child in the baby walker for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Overuse can lead to developmental delays when they are learning to walk.