I did not find much against exerSaucers or jumpers, and both our pediatrician and the nurses at our childbirth class sponsored by our hospital had told us that both are fine. There are some people who have concerns about both, as is summed up fairly well by this post:
"Dr. Suzanne Dixon says, "Exersaucers...hold a child's hip extended,
just as walkers do, which is not good if a baby spends a lot of time
in them...Also, these devices, like walkers, prevent a child from
seeing his feet. New data on walkers suggests that this lack of visual
feedback hinders kids' learning from their own movements. However,
Exersaucers and Supersaucers are better than walkers in that a child
is more centered over his feet and less on his toes. He also has to
work on balance a bit more...For infants with motor problems and
atypical development, we sometimes use these devices as one part of a
program to get a baby upright and to increase his muscle tone and
strength in the trunk." ("Are Exersaucers and
Supersaucers harmful for my baby's development? Pampers
According to the Children's Hospital of San Diego, "Baby
jumpers...promote movement patterns that are not useful in normal
development including tiptoe standing and fast uncontrolled movements.
The exercise your baby gets does not promote the development of trunk
and leg control or the balance needed for walking. Additionally, it
may limit time your baby spends on his tummy developing the valuable
skills for crawling." ("Frequently Asked Questions," Children's
Hospital of San Diego: http://www.chsd.org/167.cfm )
However, the concerns about excerSaucers and Jumpers seem to be much less common than concerns about walkers.
It seems that there are quite a few people saying not to use baby walkers. At one point, the American Academy of Pediatrics was even recommending banning their sale altogether.
Data from the AAP site used to form that recommendation:
- According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System
(NEISS) of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an
estimated 8800 children younger than 15 months were treated in
hospital emergency departments in the United States in 1999 for
injuries associated with the use of infant walkers.8 This represents
a 56% decrease in these injuries since 1995, when 20 100 injuries
- Thirty-four deaths associated with the use of infant walkers were
reported to the CPSC during the years 1973 through 1998 (D.
Tinsworth, personal communication, November 2000).
- Population surveys suggest that there may be as many as 10 times more
injuries that are sufficiently minor that they are treated in
physicians' offices or do not require medical attention.
- Parents report that walker-related injuries occur at some time in 12%
to 40% of infants who use walkers.
- A study of 65 Virginia children injured in walkers estimated the
annual incidence of walker injuries resulting in emergency department
visits to be 8.9 per 1000 children younger than 1 year. Severe
- injuries occurred at a rate of 1.7 per 1000. Approximately one fourth
of infant walker-associated injuries reported to the NEISS are
described as "more severe," and these are nearly all fractures and
closed head injuries. Skull fractures accounted for almost 10% of all
walker-related injuries in one large series of patients.11
However, the improved labeling and testing laws appear to have made an impact in their overall safety. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "There has been an 88% reduction in injuries from 1994 to 2008, which may be attributed to the addition of a stair fall requirement included in the 1997 version of the ASTM voluntary standard." It is important to note that this is the result of new safety standards which specifically address preventing the child from falling down stairs, so walkers made prior to 1997 are to be avoided, and even the new walkers do not address some of the other hazard concerns:
For example, babies who use baby walkers may:
- Trip and fall over
- Roll down stairs
- Trap a finger
- Be burned, poisoned or otherwise hurt after reaching for a dangerous object or falling
into a pool or bathtub
As the Mayo Clinic says:
Even new baby walkers — which typically use
brakes to prevent falls and are too large to fit through doorways —
can still lead to serious injury. In addition, research shows that use
of baby walkers can actually delay when a baby begins to sit, crawl or
walk unassisted, as well as slow a baby's mental and motor
Don't allow your baby to use a baby walker and make sure that your
baby's other caregivers don't use baby walkers, either. Instead,
consider using a stationary activity center, play yard, playpen or
high chair. These devices will allow your baby to play safely as he or
she learns to sit, crawl and stand.