Over 100 children visit emergency rooms each year from incidents involving baby walkers, and the ACCC is urging parents and carers to be aware of the potential hazards if they are not used safely.
“Children can suffer serious head or facial injuries from tripping or falling in a baby walker,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Toys and other household objects left on the ground can cause a baby walker to tip over and cause an injury. Unsupervised children in a walker can also gain access to hazardous objects such as kitchen utensils and ovens.”
In Australia, the mandatory safety standard requires baby walkers to be fitted with safety features including clear safety warnings and a braking mechanism.
Last year, the ACCC along with state and territory consumer law regulators, participated in a coordinated surveillance project on baby walkers, and found that non-compliant walkers could still be purchased by unsuspecting consumers. These non-compliant walkers were mostly sold by offshore suppliers through online platforms.
Even if a baby walker complies with the mandatory standard, parents and carers must take steps to ensure the safe use of a walker.
“Although a compliant baby walker will have a braking mechanism, it is a last resort and may not always stop a child in a walker falling down stairs or off a step,” Ms Rickard said.
It is important to follow these safety tips each time your baby is in a walker:
- Always supervise your child in a baby walker. They should always be in reach of an adult who can prevent them accessing hazardous areas.
- Ensure the baby walker is only used on flat surfaces free of objects that could cause the walker to tip over.
- Block off access to staircases, steps, kitchens and fireplaces.
- Do not place any objects on the baby walker that could cause it to tip over.
- Make sure your baby walker has the safety features required by the mandatory standard.
- Do not leave your child in the baby walker for longer than 15 minutes at a time. Overuse can lead to developmental delays when they are learning to walk.
Notes to editors
The ACCC has produced a new video on baby walker safety. This video shows parents and carers how to be safe when using a baby walker, and how to check if their baby walker has the required safety features.
More information about baby walkers is available on this website.