5 Important (but often unknown) reasons to avoid baby equipment (exersaucers, jumpers, baby walkers):
- Can lead to delay in attaining age-appropriate developmental milestones.
- Researchers at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University found babies who used walkers sat, crawled and walked later than non-walker babies. They also scored lower on standard scales of mental and motor development.
- Encourages undesired postures, recruits lower extremity muscle groups unevenly leading to delayed muscle control, and promotes unusual movement patterns consistent with “toe walking”.
- Introduces weight bearing much sooner than naturally emerges.
- Overwhelms the immature sensory system of a baby (visual, vestibular, auditory, proprioceptive, and tactile to name a few) with more “information” than a baby can and should process at one time. Can lead to aversions to those systems or on the opposite end could cause the child to need an excessive amount of input to the sensory system at all times and seek that quantity as development continues.
- Creates a disconnect between the baby’s brain and body. Babies learn to move in part by watching and understanding how their feet and legs move. If the baby equipment has a tray, they can’t see what’s happening with their lower body and don’t get the information their brain needs about their motor development.
What to do instead?
Enjoy floor time with positive interactions is the best place to promote development!
Amanda-Physical Therapy Team