Infant walkers remain a dangerous and preventable source of injury for children, despite a U.S. mandatory safety standard, increased public awareness and fewer older walkers in the home, according to a study, "Infant Walker-Related Injuries in the United States," that will be published in the October 2018 issue of Pediatrics.
The study found that the number of infant walker-related injuries significantly declined between 1990 and 2014, according to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. From 1990-2014, an estimated 230,676 children younger than 15 months old were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries related to the use of walkers, which are banned in Canada but legal in the United States.
The majority of infant walker-related injuries occur when the child falls down the stairs in a walker, with most injuries to the head and neck. Infant walker-related injuries declined by 84.5 percent from 1990 to 2003, after a voluntary safety standard was adopted and increased use of stationary activity centers as an alternative to walkers occurred. In 2010, a federal mandatory safety standard was established, and the average annual number of infant walker-related injuries decreased by 22.7 percent over the following four years compared with the prior four years.
Despite the decline in the number of injuries during the 25-year study period, approximately 2,000 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries related to infant walker-related incidents in 2014. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban on the manufacture and sale of infant walkers in the United States.
Additional Information from HealthyChildren.org: