Many parents believe that a baby walker can help their child walk earlier and faster. Perhaps it is the notion that a hard plastic base placed on top of wheels with a specialized cloth seat, complete with two leg openings, is the perfect aid to walking. Manufacturers supplied this need by creating such equipment targeted to kids between 4 and 16 months to let them experience the unrepressed joys of walking.
But what if this promise poses a potential threat to a child’s health and safety? Then the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) comes in, addresses the problem and calls for a voluntary recall of these baby walkers.
Here are three models recalled by the CPSC as indicated in their website located at cpsc.gov. Consumers are encouraged to discontinue using these walkers and bring them back to the store where they got them for a full refund. When you visit the CPSC website, you can easily sign up for their recall updates so you can get up-to-the-minute notifications of baby walker and other infant product recalls.
- Q BABY. With model number ST–108ST, this product, marketed as an infant walker and toddler walker, can also pass up as a baby rocker, but definitely not as a wooden walker, as seen on cpsc.gov/cpscpub. Q BABY is made in Taiwan and is distributed by SunTome Trading Corporation, Los Angeles, California in the US. The CPSC recalled around 600 of these walkers because they fit through standard doorways but don’t stop when they reach steps’ edges. Although such walker will have difficulty being maneuvered on carpets, the CPSC believes that the use of such walkers may cause serious accidents, resulting to death.
- Baby/BEBELOVE. Manufactured by Bike Pro, Inc., of Pico Rivera California in the US, these walkers, as shown on cpsc.gov/cpscpub are marketed for babies 6 months and beyond. These walkers come in blue, green, pink and yellow. With additional trinkets like a musical activity tray, a cute toy and themes such as rockets, tanks, lights and steering wheels, etc, this particular model satisfies the elements of a plain toddler walker as well as an activity walker. Although there haven’t been any reports of accidents in babies, the CPSC in cooperation with the manufacturing firm deemed it necessary to recall about 50,000 of the Baby/ BEBELOVE units since October 9, 2002. Just like in the case of the Q Baby walker, the CPSC issued a similar statement in the recall of the Baby/BEBELOVE model because they fit through standard doorways but don’t stop when they reach steps’ edges, which may result to serious danger.
- Sun Kids or Happy Baby. Although this particular infant walker and toddler walker is better than a wooden one, it still suffered the same fate as the Q Baby and Baby/BEBELOVE. The Sun Kids or Happy Baby model as shown on cpsc.gov/cpscpub boasts of a padded seat, an activity tray and plastic frame held up by six or eight wheels on the bottom. Walkers were sold at small retailers and flea markets in Texas and California, definitely not at Wal-Mart, from November 2002 to April 2003 for between $15 and $25. The recall order for about 4,100 units of this same model however came on September 10, 2003.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to urge those who have purchased the above-mentioned items to return them to receive a full refund. Meanwhile, parents should not put all their hopes on a baby walker. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics cautions parents against the use of baby walkers, for they may actually delay walking by two to three weeks.