Traditionally the baby walker or the walking ring is a lifesaver to moms and it is the first gift the family usually buys. It also looks so nice and fancy with all the bells and whistles attached – the lights and toys etc. Even as an adult you are tempted to play with it.
But is it all it seems? Is it a nice toy that has the added advantage of making your baby walk sooner? Or is the truth much more ominous?
Babies are designed to develop in a very specific way. From lifting their heads, to pushing up, sitting, crawling, standing and then finally walking. Their muscles are designed to develop in this order and their coordination and their mental capacity is closely correlated to parallel this development.
By putting a baby in a walking ring you make him mobile long before he is mentally ready for it. This often leads to major accidents and injuries. Like falling off stairs and sustaining a head injury. Or pulling a hot cup of coffee all over himself and getting himself burned.
His muscle groups not develop in the correct way and order, with certain groups being stronger than others, and this disorder of development will lead to him not being able to reach his milestones in the correct order or the correct time. Very often he will walk on tippy-toes in the walker, which leads to a shortening of the calf muscle. Not only does a child who spends time in walking rings walk much later, but they also tend to toe-walk.
Canada has actually passed a law in 2004 banning the sale and advertising of all walking rings. Selling a second hand walking ring also is against the law and any such action may lead to a heavy fine.
Taking all of the above into account I definitely have to advice strongly against the use of a walking ring. Rather than spending money on a toy that is going against all natural development, put baby on the floor as much and as often as possible, surround him with interesting toys, and marvel in the development of each milestone.