What are the Best Baby Walkers?
Back in 2002, my hubby and I had two mobile pieces of baby equipment that were godsends – the baby swing and the baby walker. We affectionately called the baby swing, “baby crack” because it put our daughter out like a light. When she started crawling, pulling up and taking her first steps, she’d gotten a bit big for the swing and didn’t like being cooped up in it.
In fact, she didn’t like being cooped up in anything, including the playpen. She would remove her clothes and diaper, then pee all over the playpen to show her displeasure. She wanted to be where the action was, which is difficult if you need to concentrate on making dinner.
Enter the baby walker. I could plop her in there and she’d roll herself into the kitchen to watch mommy cook, or into the bedroom to watch me fold clothes. She’d even follow me to the bathroom. As did her younger sister and brother. The tray provided a great place for snacks.
Some 16 years later, I’m able to enjoy the blessings of a solitary bathroom experience. That is until they need a towel or a hairbrush or toilet paper or are arguing with each other or complaining that we have no food in the house (because they are bottomless pits). Trust me, when they’re older, door locks are your friend.
But before that, when they’re first learning they can shadow your every movement, a baby walker is your friend.
How do I know when my baby’s ready for a walker?
If your baby has become your shadow, either crawling or toddling along behind you, that’s a great time to invest in a baby walker. This is typically between 9 and 15 months.
They’re busybodies by that age and want to see and experience everything they can, but aren’t that great at keeping themselves upright. It’s frustrating for them when they lose sight of you and can’t follow along at your pace.
The bad thing is, at that age, their natural inquisitiveness can get them in trouble. They don’t yet understand the dangers of electrical cords or hot stoves or the dog’s tail.
Since household chores are still a necessary evil, a baby walker is a great way to let them be part of your day while keeping those little fingers out of the wrong places.
What are the downsides to baby walkers?
You should know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends NOT using baby walkers. The kind they’re referring to is the 4-wheeled variety. Why?
- May fall over
- Could roll down stairs
- Might allow the baby to reach dangerous objects easier
- Could interfere with baby’s natural mobility development
Before you light the torches and make a bonfire out of baby walkers, let’s think about why those dangers exist. Nearly every injury involved with the use of a baby walker is because of parental or caregiver neglect.
What can I do to ensure my baby’s safe in the walker?
Just like with the myriad of other baby entertainment and mobile equipment, you should never leave your baby unattended when they’re in the walker. Make sure you’ve got one eye on the baby at all times.
Remember these things:
1.Never let your baby use a walker near open stairs. A sturdy baby gate might provide a decent blockade, but it’s not a good substitute for a closed and locked door to the stairs. It’s safer to use the walker on the ground floor, and if you have a basement, keep that door closed and locked.
2. Keep all sharp, toxic, hot and heavy objects out of the baby’s reach. Bend down to the level your baby will be in the walker and see what they can reach. Pot handles should always be turned inward, electrical cords should be secured, and all household chemicals should be in a cabinet with child-proof locks.
3. Don’t leave your baby unattended! I can’t say that enough.
4. Don’t leave them in a walker for extended periods. Let her roll around the kitchen while you’re cooking dinner until it’s time to eat, and then take her out of the walker. Babies need lots of mommy interaction and physical contact.
5. Go for an alternative to the 4-wheeled versions, such as a stationary walker or jumper.
Whichever one you choose or receive as a gift, inspect it thoroughly for any missing or broken parts, search for product recalls, etc. This goes for pretty much any baby product, but you know that already. If used properly, walkers can be a fun way for baby to be mobile, play and eat snacks.
Ready to find the best baby walker? Here are our top picks.
This brightly colored baby walker is for babies 6 – 12 months, with 3 adjustable heights to fit their growing bodies. The seat pad is machine washable – big plus! There’s a toy bar with a spinning frog and bead chaser. The extra link loops let you add more toys for more fun.
Some parents reported problems with the seat height being either too short or tall for their babies. Others said the babies had a hard time pushing it around, and the wheels tended to squeak. A few customers reported missing or broken parts upon arrival.
- Machine washable seat
- 3 height adjustments
- Extra loops for adding toys
- May be too high or low for petite and large babies
- Could be difficult for baby to roll
- Parts may be missing or broken upon arrival
Your busy baby will love having two ways to play with this walker. It’ll grow with your baby before and after they begin to walk. Lots of colorful, spinning toys will keep them busy, and there’s plenty of room for some snacks. Best of all, it folds up compactly for easy storage and portability.
Some parents had issues with the toys popping off easily. This may or may not be a problem unless they contain parts that can be swallowed. Though the weight limit is 26 pounds, the seat clips came loose and a few smaller babies fell through it. Thoroughly inspect the seat clips before you put your baby in it.
- Converts from seated to walk-behind
- Plenty of toys
- Folds flat for easy storage and travel
- Toys may pop off easily
- Seat clips could come loose
This stationary option from Evenflow is just adorable. It has 3 height positions to grow with your baby. The seat is machine washable. Several toy options help develop the fine motor skills, while bouncing will make those leg muscles stronger. Great option if you have a lot of stairs or have a daycare provider.
Having that many toys are fun, but it leaves virtually no room for snacks. Some parents noted sharp edges on the plastic near the seat, while others had issues with it being difficult to adjust the height. A few parents had instances where the product came apart during use. Thoroughly inspect everything before you put your baby inside, and stay right there beside them when he or she uses it the first few times to make sure it’s sturdy enough for your baby.
- Plenty of toys
- Stationary- no risk of rolling down stairs
- Washable seat
- Not enough room for snacks
- Small chance of product collapse
- Could have sharp edges underneath
- Adjusting the height may be difficult
I love pink and awesome cars, so I may be a little biased on this one. But isn’t it adorable? If you’re not into pink, it is offered in 5 other colors. This one does have a snack tray – it’s actually under the removable hood. Locking wheels keep it in place for stationary bouncing. Other features include a machine washable seat, a removable electronic play tray & three height positions.
Really about the bad thing about this one is the price. It’s not cheap, but then again, very few parents noted any flaws. While it may not be for those on a tight budget, the investment could well be worth it.
- Removable electronic play tray
- Snack tray under the hood
- 6 color choices
- Wheels can lock for stationary bouncing
If you don’t want all the bells and whistles of attached toys, this one has a sleek, clean design that with 4 colors that will match any modern decor. The best thing about this one has to be the removable, dishwasher-safe tray and machine washable seat. It’s got tons of room for snacks and sippies, too, not to mention it’s BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free.
Like our previous listing, this walker is on the pricey side. So if you’re on a budget, it’ll be a big investment. Several parents noted that it didn’t roll well on carpet and sometimes got hair jammed in the wheels. Though the height limit is stated as 33.5 inches, some parents noted their children were already too tall for it, even on the highest setting.
- Removable, dishwasher safe tray
- Lots of snack room
- 4 color choices
- BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
- May not work well on carpet
- Height limit may not be accurate
If you prefer the stationary options, this door jumper from Baby Einstein is a good option. It has a padded, machine washable seat pad, 4 sea-themed toys, and the strap is adjustable for baby’s height. The sturdy door frame clamp attaches to most doorways, so if you’re busy at the computer, you can put junior in there and hang him from your office door. It’s also super affordable and portable.
Just like most baby products, this one has its flaws. Some parents reported that it didn’t fit on their doorframes. Others noted the hard plastic on the sides could be uncomfortable. Breakage doesn’t seem to be common but can happen, so stick close to your baby the first few times they use it to monitor the product’s sturdiness.
- Machine washable seat
- 4 sea-themed toys
- May not fit all doorframes
- Hard plastic on sides could be uncomforable
For all you Disney fans, who wouldn’t like this Baby Minnie walker? Not only is it adorable (there’s also a blue Nemo option), but it’s also affordable. First of all, the removable piano makes music and lights up for visual and audio stimulation. Baby will love the roller drum, click flower, and bead chaser. Probably the best thing about it (for moms) is the removable, machine washable seat cover.
Despite its cuteness, however, a few parents noted that the front wheels got stuck, and it doesn’t turn well. The plastic toys could hurt a baby’s face or eyes if he or she can’t stay upright for long. I’d use this only for babies who are pulling up already or taller for their age.
- Machine washable seat
- Removable piano
- Lights up and plays music
- Wheels may be difficult to move
- Hard plastic toys could hurt face or eyes if baby falls on them
I LOVE Winnie the Pooh, so our nursery was decorated with Winnie and the gang. This would be a perfect addition if you have a Winnie the Pooh theme as well, however, it’s cute enough to stand on its own. It costs a bit more than some of the others, but still won’t break the bank. Probably the best thing about it is the swing-out activity trays that give you room for snack time.
Same as the Minnie walker, this one requires batteries for the sounds to work. Also, it seems that some parents had difficulty assembling it, while others found the back wheels didn’t turn well. Others noted it seemed too tall for their babies, even when on the lowest position. For the price, however, it’s not a risky investment.
- Two swing-out activity trays
- Snack tray beneath
- Machine washable seat
- May be too high for some babies
- Could be difficult for baby to roll
- Assembly could pose a challenge
As a final word, don’t stress about baby walkers. If you don’t feel comfortable using one, there are plenty of options such as stationary bouncers and push-around activity centers. While any baby product could malfunction, be especially careful with baby walkers that roll. Always keep your baby in sight and make sure there are no open stairs. This could be more of a challenge if you’re home alone or have other small children, so keep that in mind.
But most of all, supervise your baby at all times when they’re using a toy or mobile product.
Which of our best baby walkers caught your eye? Here’s a handy table to summarize our list:
|Product||Photo||Customer Rating||Age / Size Ranges||Cost|
|Bright Starts Pattern Pals Walker||★★★||6-12 months||$$|
|Kolcraft Tiny Steps 2-in-1 Activity Walker||★||Up to 26 pounds||$$|
|Evenflo Exersaucer Bounce and Learn||★★||Up to 30 inches||$$$|
|Combi Baby Activity Walker*EDITOR'S CHOICE*||★★★★||Up to 30 pounds||$$$$|
|Joovy Spoon Walker||★★ ★||Up to 33.5 inches|
Up to 30 pounds
|Baby Einstein Sea and Discover Door Jumper **EDITOR'S CHOICE**||★★||Up to 24 pounds||$|
|Disney Baby Minnie Mouse Peek-A-Boo Walker||★ ★★ ★||Up to 24 pounds||$$|
|Disney Winnie The Pooh Music and Lights Walker||★ ★ ★||Up to 30 pounds||$$$|
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