Do baby walkers delay onset of walking in young children?

Br J Community Nurs. 2002 Nov;7(11):581-6. doi: 10.12968/bjcn.2002.7.11.10889.


Baby walkers have been a source of considerable controversy. Some people suggest developmental benefit from their use while others focus on the potential harm that stems from accidents and even suggest developmental delay. This mini-review aimed to determine if use of a baby walker delays affects the onset of walking. The Cochrane library, Embase, CINAHL and Medline were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and cohort studies, which compared the onset of walking in infants who used baby walkers with a group who did not. Two RCTs and two cohort studies were identified and available for consideration. All of the studies examined the effect of infant walkers on the onset of walking. The results of the two RCTs did not demonstrate a significant effect on the onset of walking. The cohort studies suggest that the use of infant walkers delayed the onset of walking in young children and a pooled analysis of the four studies suggested a delay of between 11 and 26 days. Although the quality of the studies was relatively poor these studies lend no support to the argument that walkers aid the development of walking. The significance of a delay of this magnitude is however unclear. Further work is required to determine whether walkers are an independent causal factor in accidents.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Equipment Design
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Motor Skills
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design / standards
  • Walkers / adverse effects*
  • Walkers / standards
  • Walkers / supply & distribution
  • Walking / physiology*