For many young parents, a baby walker may appear to be an excellent product for a young child. It allows the infant great mobility and many parents believe it assists the child in learning to walk.

This view may be changing. Many consumer groups and medical associations view the baby walker as a source of serious injury for America's infants.

One of the main problems with the baby walker is that it gives the infant mobility at a time when the child is not ready to be mobile and the parents are not prepared for the child to be mobile. Studies indicate that an infant in a baby walker can move as fast as 3-4 feet per second, getting into trouble before the parents become aware that their child is in danger.

Thousands of infants require hospital emergency room treatment every year for injuries resulting from the use of baby walkers. Baby walkers are associated with more injuries each year than any other baby product. The most serious injuries include brain damage, fractures, and burns.

Approximately half of all injuries involving walkers are caused by falls down steps. Since the walkers also allow babies to reach higher, burns and severe scalds have occurred when babies were able to pull pots and pans off stoves.

Many doctors now believe that baby walkers do not increase a child's ability to walk at an earlier age and may actually delay a child's walking abilities. Safety advocates are urging parents not to buy walkers, and if they own one, to throw it away.

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