View Full Version : Babywalkers

Edward Draper
06-27-1996, 01:35 AM
Hi All

First an apology for the tardiness of this summary.

Many, many thanks for all your replies.

In March I wrote:

I have an interest in the effects of babywalkers on the development of gait.
Has anyone experience of this or can anyone help me
find some useful references?

Jane Clark, Department of Kinesiology, University of
Maryland wrote:

You should send Marcie Ridenour (Temple University, Philadelphia) a note.
Her email is: MarRid@aol.com In the 70s (or early 80s) she and one of
her grad students did a twin walker study (one twin used a walker and the
other did not) -- they published at least one study in Perceptual and Motor
Skills, but I don't know whether she published other work.


Charles Gatt (with a compuserve address) wrote:

I am also interested in this topic, as an orthopaedic surgeon and a new father.
I have heard (not read) that the infants assume a posture of hip flexion and
knee flexion i.e. an almost seated position, and that this posture does not
develop the muscular coordination necessary for upright gait. Also, too much
time in the walker may actually delay the time to independent ambulation.

I would be very interested in the results of your search. You may also want to
look into the effects of the baby jumpers-they hang from a doorway and the baby
jumps up and down. I recently got one for my son and he loves it. The
instructions said that time should be limited to 30 mins per session to avoid
delaying independent ambulation in the child.


Susan Eskridge,MS,PT, Chapman University, Division of
Physical Therapy wrote:

You will probably will get this response from many but infant walkers are no
longer sold in the US and Canada because of safety concerns. The most recent
article is Walker et al. Hazardous Baby Walkers: A Survey of Use. Pediatric
Physical Therapy. 1996;8;25-30. This article is mainly concerned with the
safety concerns, but does have references on the effects of walkers on the
development of gait. Let me know if you would like a copy of this article.

Elizabeth Spletzer (maroon.tc.umn.edu) wrote:

A Master's study was done at the University of Minnesota on this. It was
presented at the Internation Society for Biomechanics of Sports in the summer of
1991 or 1992, whichever year they met in Ames, Iowa. I would assume that it is
found in the ISBS yearbook of those meetings.

god3272 (IMAP2.ASU.EDU) wrote:

See Pam Matt; Chair; Dept. of Dance; College of Fine Arts; Arizona State
University; Tempe, Az. 85281; Dance Dept. Ph# 602-965-5029. She is a
Kinesiology Spec., and made some interesting observations of gait.

Joan M. Walker, PhD, PT, School of Physiotherapy, Dalhousie
University wrote:

Kauffman IB, Ridenour M. Influence of an infant walker on onset and quality
of walking pattern of locomotion. Percept Motor Skills 1977, 45:1323-9
Crouchman M. The effects of baby walkers on early mocomotor development.
Develop Med Child Neurol 1986, 28:757-761
Levangie PK, Brouwer J, McKeen SH, et al. The effects of the standard
rolling walker and two posterior rolling walkers on gait variables of normal
children. Physical & Occup. Therapyy in Pediatrics. 1989, 9:19-31
Levangie PK, Chimera M, Johnston M, et al. The efects of posterior rolling
walkers versus the standard rolling walker on gait characteristics of
children with spastic cerebral palsy. Phys & Occup Ther in Pediatrics

Willem Back, DVM, PhD, Dept. of General and Large Animal
Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht
University wrote:

Since you are interested in the development of gait, I hereby let you know
that I wrote my thesis on the development of locomotion of horses from foal
to adult. If you are interested, I 'll send you a copy.

Timothy W. Flynn, PT, MS, OCS, Center for Locomotion Studies, Pennsylvania State
University wrote:

My wife (Sue Flynn) is a PT who works in pediatrics, I asked her about
babywalkers and she had no known references but anecdotally she and
colleagues do not feel walkers promote normal gait patterns. In particular
the position of the child in the walker is generally forward leaning ie.
with their COG shifted anteriorly. Additionally the child will pushoff
with the balls of their feet and have initial contact with the balls of
their feet maintaining the hips extended and therefore usually do not
display heel-toe gait. If you get any other replies or conduct research in
this area please keep us informed.

Edward Draper PhD BSc CEng MIMechE MIPEMB
Principal Research Fellow in Bioengineering
Royal Postgraduate Medical School
Du Cane Road
London W12 0NN

If you can't be good be safe.