I have heard my whole life that the above mentioned types of toys delay walking and/or independent sitting (depending on the age they're used). I've even heard that they can hurt the infant's legs. I've never seen any research to suggest this is true and I'm skeptical, but it also makes me nervous about buying one for my son--even though he'd likely enjoy it at this age.

Is there any research, or even individual cases of it, that would suggest this is true? How about evidence to the contrary?


8 Answers 8


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 )

and Jumpers:

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 were reported.
  • 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 development.

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.


Yes, jumpers can be bad. The important difference between your son holding on to your hands, and sitting in a jumper, is where the weight is placed:

When he's hanging from your hands, he's using muscles in all of his body -- from the hands and arms, through the back, to the feet. This is good.

When he's sitting in a jumper, he's effectively sitting down and doesn't have enough weight on his feet to learn much from it. This is not good.

Also, the seat surface of some jumpers (as well as baby carriers like these from Baby Björn is too narrow, allowing the legs to dangle straight down. This is also not good, because the hips are turned forward/downward, and gravity pulls the thighbones out of their joints. When sitting down, the thighs should not dangle.

Source: my physiotherapist wife.

  • Do you or your wife have an opinion on the ExcerSaucer? It seems like it would suffer from some of the same problems as jumper. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 21:00
  • I don't have any personal opinion, but Beofett posted a summary of reputable sources in his answer. For what it's worth, I upvoted that. Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 6:10

I've had to edit this reply heavily!!

There is a common thought that baby walkers can cause damage to the achilles tendon, which sometimes needs surgery to correct.

But there does not appear to be any research to support that. See, for example, this American Academy of Pediatrics report: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;108/3/790

This report is overwhelmingly negative about baby walkers, but only says this about tendon damage (and it doesn't really sound as if they're talking about tendon damage):

One study that evaluated children between 6 and 15 months of age demonstrated that walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls, and they scored lower on Bayley scales of mental and motor development.16 At first, the unassisted gait of infants who use walkers may be slightly abnormal.2 There is no evidence, however, that such effects are lasting in typical children or that they have any impact on the child's ultimate motor development or intelligence.2,17

Here's an example of anecdote about tendon damage: https://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2390942592&topic=4727

I am a Parent Educator with the Parents as Teachers program which is based on brain development research. Did any of your kids use baby walkers? That is a leading cause of toe walking. The reason is that their feet aren't flat on the floor, so only their tip toes reach, and they learn to be toe walkers. When children walk on their toes, their Achilles tendon (along the back of the heel/behind the ankle) isn't able to stretch out. The only way to correct it is through a very painful surgery in which the Achilles tendon is cut and then heals and then the children are able to walk flat footed. I hope this information helps. To anyone whose infants are starting to have this problem, PLEASE get rid of your baby walker! This is recommended by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

  • 3
    These are the sorts of things I've heard, but without a source it makes me wonder how much is just hearsay. Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 17:18
  • 1
    Dan, I took the liberty to edit your comment into your answer. Feel free to edit your answer again! Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 19:53

Anecdotal, common sense answer ... I am sure that they are fine as long as not excessively.

Common sense tells me that substantial walker use will delay standard mobility development, if for no other reason than the time the kid is in the walker scooting or in the jumper jumping is time the kid would spend on the floor trying to crawl or walk.

When my daughter was an infant/toddler, we had a "great room" with laminate flooring, and she loved being in the walker and being mobile. We used it in small doses, 10 minutes a few times a week, such as when we were cleaning the kitchen after dinner. Once whatever task we needed to do was done, she would come out of the walker and go back on the floor or in a playpen.

  • 3
    Question does specifically ask about research. We know that common sense is often wrong. For walkers: a few unsupervised minutes is all it takes for very serious, life-risking, accidents to happen. While rare it's a possibility.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:35
  • Not sure of the point of the comment. Did you infer that the walker use was unsupervised? The kid had fun scooting around the great room while the wife and/or I were sitting on the couch or tidying the kitchen (which views the great room). Common sense is not often wrong, but people use the term to rationalize stupidity. If a parent puts a kid in a walker and doesn't block the basement stairs, is the walker the problem, or the parent?
    – tomjedrz
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:00
  • OP specifically asks for research. Your answer doesn't provide any research. Your answer provides some anecdote; those anecdotes are countered by the statistics of children who are injured by walker accidents. You should probably delete your non-answer.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 16:24
  • I agree that your answer would be better with some evidence, although I don't agree that you're disagreeing with the premise. The OP invites disagreement, but would like evidence: "Is there any research, or even individual cases of it, that would suggest this is true? How about evidence to the contrary?" Common sense isn't very common, and though I happen to agree with you completely, I have not answered this myself simply because the lack of harm is difficult to support (unless all the people walking around the US of around 30 - 90 without problems counts.) Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 18:10

Short answer: In moderation and with oversight.

Long Answer: Much of what is being said via studies holds true for many activities. Either by way of being in that situation IE: In a walker a baby may fall in a pool - but only if they are near an open pool; The child in a walker may burn themselves or pull something heavy on top of themselves - Really? My child's walker is in the sunken living room, and the heaviest thing in there is sofa cushions.

Anecdotally and personally: My child has been in a jumper or walker for about 20 minutes a day for the past several months. Now at 10 months she is walking unattended across rooms to be with a parent or to grab a toy. Not once has she been burned in her walker.

  • Welcome to Parenting.SE, Mike. The question asked was whether a walker/jumper can "delay walking and/or independent sitting [or] hurt the infant's legs", not whether a child is likely to be burned. Did you intend this to be a comment on another answer instead of an answer to the question?
    – Acire
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 12:23

Just out of curiosity I Googled "are walkers bad for your baby" and ended up here. There is a lot of research that says they are bad for babies. This is my story based on my personal experience.

I have 3 daughters now ages 26 and 22 (twins). They all used walkers. I think my home was safe for them to use the walkers. -There are no stairs. No place to fall. Big space, no wires or small items on the floor to trip over. -They didn't come into the kitchen where they might be burned, poisoned or pull something down.
-They didn't/couldn't come into the bathroom. We don't have a tube or a swimming pool. -It was not possible to trap a finger. While they could accidentally run into the eating or sofa table their hands/fingers went no further than the inside rim of the tray on the walker. Like a bumper car.

They were able to follow me around in other rooms but usually didn't and if they did the rooms were safe. They were not left unattended. They were more with me than not.

According to babycenter.com babies start walking between the ages of 9-16 months. My oldest started walking when she was about 14 months. Twin A started walking when she was 10 months and Twin B started walking at 11 months. None of them have had any problems with their hips, back, feet, etc. No problems whatsoever with their bodies. When I was finished with my choirs and/or felt they needed a break I took my oldest out so she could sit on the floor or crawl around. I took the twins out and placed them in a play pen and later let them crawl around. With 3 toddlers I found the walkers were helpful. Actually, fun was had by all.

  • Hi, Audry, and welcome. :) My kids used walkers as well (loved 'em!) so I'm with you. Unfortunately, studies do show an increased incidence of injury, as well as a slight delay (of about two weeks) in walking. In my mind, that delay doesn't offset the exploring they can do, but that's me. Which brings me to this point: this is a Q&A site, not a forum with which you might be more familiar. The question is, "Is there any research... (that) this is true? How about evidence to the contrary?" Answers should include research, or they are just anecdote. Please have a look around our site. Thanks! :) Commented Jul 22, 2017 at 23:11

Both of my older children (now with kids of their own) used good old fashioned, 4 castor wheel walkers. My son walked at 11 months and has no back, hip, or tendon problems. My daughter walked at 9 months old - yes - and used the walker ALOT, before she walked unattended at 9 months. She is an elite athlete and also has no tendon, hip problems. She did have some cervical spine problems, but this was very directly related to her sport of choice and she was in her mid 20's when it occurred. Yes, be careful about steps etc, and don't leave your child in a walker/bouncer for 20 hours a day, but the claims they delay development seems like guessing to me. Where is any real research?

  • 1
    "Where is any real research?" This is not really a good argument on an SE site. It's the answers that are supposed to have sources, in other words, the burden is on you to prove that they are not harmful. Not that I disagree with you; I don't. But the sentiment is not correct. Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 23:54
  • Hi! Welcome to ParentingSE! You provide some nice anecdote about baby walkers, and end with "Where is any real research?". Your answer would have been more useful if you had linked to research showing a lack of harm from these products.
    – DanBeale
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 9:34
  • Here's one: "an infant walker modified the mechanics of the infant's locomotion ... use of the walker enables an infant to commit substantial mechanical errors yet succeed in bipedal locomotion... positive transfer from walker-training appears questionable." and here's another: "Walker-experienced infants sat, crawled, and walked later than no-walker controls, and they scored lower on ... mental and motor development."
    – Acire
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:26

I think it depends on the baby. Mine has always preferred to stand and has been trying to step and walk since he was four months old. It seemed like a no Brainer to get aback excersaucer and a walker. At 7 months he can take steps while having his hands held. He walks with his whole foot not just the toes. Even out of the contraptions he works on walking and balance. And even in them he wants to stand and move so he only uses the chair hammock when he needs a break. I like it and to be honest, he's obviously going to walk at some pointime and some kids are delayed even without the walker.

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