There has been a long-standing debate on whether it is wise to use a baby walker to train your child. The majority of child safety experts recommend not using a baby walker. However, if employed correctly, it can be an essential tool that can help develop the mobility of your child. Recent times have seen wood increasingly becoming the sole construction material for modern baby walkers. However, with so many of them in the market, selecting the best wooden baby walker for your child can be a daunting task.
Common misconceptions about baby walkers
Before you go shopping for the best wooden baby walker, it is vital that you understand the chequered history of this device. Here are the most common arguments against using baby walkers.
It affects your child’s balance and prevents proper muscle development
Children start walking between the ages of nine months and eighteen months. Before investing in a baby walker, allow your child to develop enough strength in their legs to balance and stand without any extra support. Some of the tell-tale signs you can look out for are when they start grabbing on to the sofa for support or are always seeking your guidance when walking.
People are advised against using baby walkers because they introduce them too early in a child’s life. A safe age to incorporate a baby walker is when your child is one year and older.
Having your child in a baby walker will require extra vigilance on your part
The notion that you will need to be extra vigilant when caring for your child in a baby walker is utterly ridiculous. Taking care of an infant requires your full attention regardless of whether they have a baby walker or not. For this reason, you childproof your house and invest in baby monitors to keep watch of your child.
Make sure that your child is always under supervision during their playtime. It is the only way you can guarantee their safety.
Baby walkers affect your child’s brain development
Here is yet another argument against baby walkers that does not hold water anymore. If you allow your baby to go through the natural growth stages, it is safe to use a baby walker during their development. This argument came into play because manufacturers were marketing the product to all ages of children.
The initial designs were also not conducive to aid your child’s development. Earlier versions would include fabric support that forced babies who were not yet of age to prop up before they were ready. However, modern designs now feature storage compartments and push bars that are more beneficial for your child’s overall cognitive development. As your child becomes more proficient in walking, the need to explore their surroundings increases, and therefore a push walker is more beneficial.
Furthermore, wooden baby walkers are great for imaginative play. They are simplistic in design and often have a tray on which your child can stack up their other toys to move around the house. Some of the best wooden baby walkers also feature interactive toys such as chomping gators and rollerballs on the handle, contributing to your child’s overall mental development.
Baby walkers are a hive of toxins and pathogens
The above myth may have had some truth in the past, but that is not the situation anymore. You will notice that most baby walkers available for purchase consist of wood as the primary construction material. Organizations such as the Consumer Protection and Safety Commission (CPSC) are continually reviewing materials used to construct children’s toys. Materials such as Bisphenol A, PVC, and phthalates are now illegal to use in the manufacture of children’s toys.
The best wooden baby walkers now use recycled and eco-friendly materials in their builds. The wood is easy to clean, and the paint used in the finishing is organic such as soy ink.
Essential factors to consider when choosing a baby walker
Your child’s height
As earlier mentioned, a baby walker is best introduced between the ages of one and three. Considering this, you should opt for a baby walker that matches your child’s height. When selecting the best wooden baby walker for your child, look for those that do not exceed a height higher than fifty centimeters. The best way to determine which baby walker is best is to look for one that reaches your child’s navel.
The stability of the walker
The recommended dimensions of baby walkers are 50 X 50 X 25 centimeters for children one year and above. They are stable enough to prevent them from tipping over when in use. They also have enough space within their compartment for your child to put in all their other toys as they push it around the house. Alternatively, your child can comfortably sit in them should they need you to move them around.
Always go for baby walkers that feature rubber wheels. These types of wheel are great at preventing skidding on slippery floors. They also come with a braking mechanism, which you can engage if you want your child to remain stationary.
Look for baby walkers that come with handgrips. These allow your child to firmly hold onto the device without running the risk of slipping. Also, look for ones that have rounded edges with no loose hanging attachments. The screws should be flush with the baby walker’s body as any materials that stick out can harm your child.
Our top picks for best wooden baby walker
- Best overall – Haba Walker Wagon
- Most Innovative – Mellisa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator push toy
- Most Interactive – Hape Wonder Walker
- Best Safety Features – Brio Toddler Wobbler
- Best Multipurpose Use – Radio Flyer walker wagon
- Best Budget – Spring Ming wooden baby walker
What are the best wooden baby walkers for your child?
With all the rumors now quashed, here are the best wooden baby walkers currently available in the market.
Best Overall – Haba Walker Wagon
The Haba walker wagon is not the cheapest of the best wooden baby walkers on this list. However. It is neatly designed and takes into account all the functionality required to aid growing children in mastering their first steps. It does not feature any added toys such as building blocks or slide puzzles, but it does come with a storage compartment and baby seat. Your child can use the seat to carry around their favorite fluffy toy or use the storage compartment for their building blocks and coloring books.
You can get the Haba walker wagon in either plywood or beechwood. Regardless of the material used in construction, the paint finishing is made from organic materials that are easy to clean with a simple wipe. The finishing on all the surfaces is also water, scratch, and dust resistant, meaning you can use the baby walker indoors and outdoors.
The tires are all rubber and come with antiskid capability, meaning the risk of your child slipping while using the Haba walker is very minimal. The high-quality hardwood used to make the device guarantees its longevity, making it a worthy investment that can be passed down through the generations. The Haba walker wagon comes in easy to assemble pieces that make it a pleasant DIY project should you need something to do around the house. You can order one at any of the following stores:
Most Innovative – Mellisa and Doug Chomp and Clack Alligator push toy
Mellisa and Doug are renowned for their innovative and interactive designs of children’s toys. Their chomp and clack alligator wooden baby walker is no different. The design features three wooden alligators at the base that alternate in their chomping as your child pushes the device. There are also rolling blocks on the middle handle that your child can play with when the walker is stationary.
Your child can also marvel at the clicking sounds that the walker makes as it moves, which add to further excitement. In terms of aiding brain development, the walker is produced in partnership with the American Association of Pediatrics and is a common feature in most play centers and homes across America.
The design is attested by the Consumer Protection and Safety Commission, meaning it checks all the boxes when it comes to your child’s safety. You can use the Melissa and Doug Chomp and Clack wooden baby walker in both indoor and outdoor settings without the risk of any damage. The toy is ideal for children of twelve months and up. You can purchase your device by visiting any of the following online stores:
Most Interactive – Hape Wonder Walker
If you are looking for an interactive wooden baby walker for your child, you have the best in the Hape Wonder Walker. The humbly designed push wagon comes with lots of fun activities for your child to engage in when it is stationery.
On the sides of the walker are a set of abacus balls and cog wheels that your child can play with while resting. As part of the handle is a simple slide puzzle that includes a wooden car, house, and tree. All these items can be moved along the smooth groove incorporated into the design. Your child also gets a rotating wooden smiley just above the slide puzzle, which can be spun around as the child moves.
Parents who have bought the product praise it for its durability and how well it aids in developing eye-hand coordination and motor skills. The mix of birch and maple wood in the design makes for an easy to clean device that only requires wiping off with disinfectant.
You can purchase the Hape Wonder Walker at the below stores:
Best Safety Features – Brio Toddler Wobbler
The beechwood Brio Toddler Wobbler is one of the best wooden baby walkers you can find in the market. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also comes with loads of features that allow it to be used in multiple scenarios. It features a simple design of a carrier base with an adjustable handle grip that you can change the height as your child grows.
It also comes loaded with safety features such as rubber trimmed tires and rounded bolts for the axle. All the edges are rounded to prevent any injuries to your child when using the device. The back wheels also have an adjustable tension screw, which you can tighten or loosen depending on what speed you want for your child.
As this is a budget model, there are bound to be some improvement areas that the manufacturer needs to address. For example, the paint is not as durable, and it tends to rub off on surfaces when it brushes against them. Although not toxic, you may end up with lots of red-stained clothes should your child decide to sit in the baby walker’s carry tray. Another thing that Brio needs to address is the stability of the baby walker. At only 12.75 inches wide, the baby walker is not stable enough for children and can easily tip over when your child is too aggressive.
Units are available at most of the online retailers and children’s toy stores.
Best Multipurpose Use – Radio Flyer walker wagon
Finishing off the list of best wooden baby walkers is the Radio Flyer walker wagon. The classic design brings back nostalgic memories of push wagons from back in the day. In the packaging are two solid wooden side panels, four all-rubber wheels, two steel rod axles, and a rubber bumper for the front of the wagon. You also get removable wooden grates for the sides should you want to create a deeper carry basin for your child.
Your child’s safety was the main factor that the manufacturer considers when making this device. The Rubber bumper is solid enough to absorb most of the energy when the wagon is bumped on to hard surfaces. The wheel mechanism comes with a resist push function that limits any accidental skidding of the baby walker.
The Radio flyer has dimensions of 22 X 15 X 17 inches, making it the ideal height and width for the average one to four years old.
Units are available for purchase at any of the below stores:
Best Budget – Spring Ming wooden baby walker
The Spring Ming Wooden baby walker is an ergonomically designed toy ideal for kids aged one year and above. It comes with a 38 cm handlebar that is high enough to accommodate the average one-year-old. The base comes filled with wooden blocks of different colors and shapes, adding to this device’s fun factor.
Spring Ming also consulted with leading child experts to create a device that eliminates zero-leg walking in your child.
The tires are made from rubber, and the back wheels also feature an adjustable tension screw to control the speed at which the walker moves. The tires’ solid rubber makes this wooden walker suitable for different surfaces, both indoor and outdoor. Depending on your child’s age, you may also need to add counterweights to the base to increase its stability.
You can get the Spring Ming wooden baby walker from the following stores:
Important advice when using a baby walker
- Do not use a baby walker if your child still prefers to crawl rather than attempt to walk. Allow them to move around on their tummy until they feel confident enough to stand independently. Introducing a baby walker too early can cause delays in the muscle and joint development of your child.
- Always ensure that the surface on which your baby will be using the walker is rid of any trip hazards or loose items that may get caught up in the wheel mechanism. You can have your child wear grip socks or shoes each time they use the walker for better stability and traction. You can also add trim tires to the walker for increased grip.
- You should always ensure that your child is under supervision when using a walker to practice their walking. Be aware of the surroundings and provide the necessary support during the first stages of usage.
- Avoid walkers that require your baby to be strapped in the middle. These limit free movement, which can lead to unnecessary injury and discomfort for your child. Always opt for walkers that have push handles, as these offer the necessary support for standing and walking.
- The maximum time you can allow your child on the baby walker should not exceed fifteen minutes. Make sure to allocate time for other developmental activities such as coloring, block building, and free play. Your child requires multiple stimuli to promote their holistic development.
Baby walkers have a bad reputation based on past experiences. As design and functionality continue to improve, walkers are slowly becoming useful toys in your child’s development. The above list features the best wooden baby walkers as recommended by child experts across different spheres. However, always consult with your pediatrician before opting for any device that influences your child’s overall development.