We analyze consumer reviews to find the best products on the web. We buy products with our own money and test them in our lab. We also interview experts and conduct independent research to pick the winners. We have affiliate partnerships so we may get a share of revenue from purchases. It’s how we fund our Research Lab and bring you better reviews and comparisons. Read more.
Best Baby Walkers Updated November 2018
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Expensive, but it’s long-lasting, attractive, and made with non-toxic materials. It’s BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free.
We love the neutrality of this walker. It’s not decorated with any characters that will be outdated before baby #2, and the color combination is gender-neutral.
There aren’t any interactive components, but the big tray can hold several toys at a time.
Walk-A-Bout Walker, Roaming Safari
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Several customers reported children took a while to warm up to the lights, sounds, and characters.
The toy tray is removable, so you can put down snacks, baby’s favorite toy, or take the toy tray in the car.
Parents seem to have a love-hate relationship with the rubber stoppers on the wheels. They’re great on hard floors, but not so much on carpet.
Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
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Some experts believe that push walkers are better for a child’s development than seated infant walkers.
This interactive walker has been reviewed more than 10,000 times—81% are 5-star ratings.
There isn’t a harness that baby can sit in, and some customers have reported a few tumbles because the walker is light with smooth wheels.
Sounds ‘n Lights
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It’s affordable and interactive, but best-suited for taller children.
Customers tout the versatility of this walker across all surfaces, including carpet. It also has the largest weight limit of the walkers we reviewed (31 pounds).
This walker isn’t as adjustable as others. Many customers reported that it was too tall for their child.
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It’s not as portable or adjustable as other walkers.
We liked the removable toy station, and we were more keen on ocean sounds than the typical (and loud) baby walker playlist.
You can’t collapse this walker to store it neatly under a bed or easily in the trunk of a car.
In the making of this review, we scanned 14,642 customer reviews and considered the recommendations of parents, physical therapists, and pediatricians. We know that there’s a hot debate around baby walkers and their effect on child growth development. A lot of parents love them but more and more professionals are recommending against them. Of course, there are pros and cons to every product, and we’ve done our best to highlight the most important information you’ll need to make a more informed decision if you choose to buy a baby walker.
Baby walkers guide
Baby walkers are primarily used by infants who haven’t learned to walk yet, but some are designed to hold toddlers too.
Walkers usually have a base made of hard plastic that wheels are fastened to. The seat sometimes swivels, giving the child the opportunity to turn around, and it’s typically made of padded fabric. Walkers allow children to practice moving around the room without having to stabilize and hold their entire weight.
Most children begin walking between 11 and 15 months old. Because children can begin using baby walkers at age four to 16 months, some parents believe walkers may expedite this process. However, many experts disagree and say the use of walkers could delay and even prevent natural growth development.
We’ll leave it to parents to decide what’s best for their baby, but our team did some research to inform that decision. We chose five of the best baby walkers (featured above), and we present the benefits, risks, types, features, and common questions surrounding the baby walker world in a comprehensive guide below.
The baby walker debate
Walkers are widely used and loved by many parents and children, but experts are raising their hands more and more to raise real concerns about infant walker safety. Some have even gone as far as to try to ban baby walkers altogether in the U.S., as they are in Canada. Like a lot of things, there seems to be a risk for every possible benefit of baby walkers. It’s up to parents to ultimately decide what’s best for their child.
Benefit—Walkers give parents a few minutes of downtime to complete household chores, enjoy a cup of coffee, or simply sit on the sofa without a crawling, bouncing baby on their lap.
Risk—Leave a child in a walker for long periods of time can affect the child’s development. The recommended amount of time to use a walker is 20 minutes or less a day.
Benefit—Children are given more mobility in walkers, granting them the freedom to get acquainted with their home and surroundings.
Risk—Parents may be tempted to leave the room while their child is contained, which increases the likelihood of accidents, like falling down stairs. Always use safety gates and barriers to reduce the risk of these accidents.
Benefit—Walkers are good practice and exercise for babies who are learning to stand and walk on their own.
Risk—Walkers permit babies to improperly move around before they’re ready to do so. Because they can’t see their feet, children aren’t given the visual feedback associated with taking steps. And the walker itself poses risks, like pinching toes or falling down stairs.
Many developmental risks can be avoided by using a baby walker only occasionally. Limit walker time to 20 minutes a day.”
Seated vs. push along baby walkers
There are two types of baby walkers: seated walkers and push toys. Here are the benefits and disadvantages of both:
Seated baby walkers: Your child should be able to hold their head up and reach the ground.
Pros—Seated walkers keep kids contained and entertained, giving parents a bit of a break.
Cons—Some say walkers can help babies learn how to walk faster, although doctors and therapists disagree.
Push toys: Your child should be able to sit up on their own and is starting to stand.
Pros—Sit-to-stand walkers are possibly better for child development.
Cons—Push toys are more susceptible to tipping, especially if babies hold on as they transition from sitting to standing.
Children should be at least four to 16 months old before using a walker. They should be able to reach the floor and hold their head steadily.”
6 Features we tested
Portability is prized in the baby space. With a little one on your hip, you want to reduce the number of things on your hands. Being able to fold a walker (sometimes one-handed), pick it up, and store it out of sight or in the car is important to a lot of parents. If you’re stuck between purchasing a foldable or fixed walker, ask yourself where the walker will be used. If it’s unlikely to leave your living room, a fixed walker should be fine. If it’ll go back and forth to a babysitter’s house, you’ll want a folding baby walker. One advantage to a fixed walker is that you won’t risk it collapsing with your child in it.
Adjustable height features enhance the longevity and comfort of the product. All of the walkers we reviewed (with the exception of the VTech walker) have three height positions. The dimensions of the products above vary between 18 and 24 inches tall. Although most walkers are adjustable, we advise parents to read reviews to find out how easy it really is to adjust each walker. For example, several customers who reviewed the Safety 1st Sounds ‘n Lights said it’s definitely suited for taller children. Others left comments explaining that the Baby Einstein walker has an adjustable harness, but the height of the actual product is not adjustable.
Although it is certainly debatable whether they truly help children learn to walk, mobility is still a key feature of baby walkers. The type of flooring you have in your home might determine which walker you buy. Some wheels swivel, making the transition from hard floors to carpet easier, and some have non-slip padded protectors that could affect mobility on carpet. You also don’t want wheels to be too smooth or unguarded that they move too quickly for baby to keep up.
Baby walkers afford parents the opportunity to get some work done around the house, eat, or just relax with their child still in sight but off of their hands. If your child likes to be held, they’ll probably fuss when put in a walker. An interactive baby walker might be important to you then. Some toy trays are removable, some make noise, and others light up. This stimulation can keep the child entertained and engaged while you get the break you deserve.
If you’re a first-time parent who plans to have more children, you’ll want to invest in neutral baby products that will last you through at least baby number two. Recently, there has been a big push for gender-neutral clothing, toys, and supplies in the baby space. When you’re purchasing a baby walker, consider versatile color schemes as well as characters. Mickey and Minnie don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, but contemporary characters and gender-specific characters (like Disney princesses) might clash or become outdated in the near future.
Quality & durability
Baby toys have a tendency of looking and feeling cheap. At House Method, we strive to feature only the best of the best in every vertical. To do so, we carefully evaluate the materials of the products we review. We think durable and non-toxic materials are even more important when children will be the primary users of a product. Baby toys usually end up in kids’ mouths, the fabric comes in close contact with their sensitive skin for long periods of time, and harnesses should be able to withstand a toddler’s energy. The Joovy Spoon walker is BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free.
Frequently asked questions
Are baby walkers good for babies? Are they safe to use?
There are pros and cons to putting your child in a baby walker. Some advantages include mobilizing children the freedom to familiarize themselves with their surroundings, exercising their bodies to facilitate standing and walking, and giving parents a break from holding and entertaining their child. Risks include increasing the chances of accidents (such as falling down stairs or into in-ground pools), prolonging and preventing natural development, and tempting parents to leave children inside a walker unattended or for too long.
Do baby walkers affect development?
Many specialists agree that baby walkers affect growth development. Some studies have shown that walkers could actually delay a child’s ability to walk. Doctors worry that children who are kept in walkers for too long could suffer from leg, back, and neck problems later in life. Parents should limit their child’s walker use to only 20 minutes a day.
How old should a baby be to use a walker?
Most walkers are designed for four to 16-month-old children. When it comes to baby products, parents should err on the side of caution and refer to their particular product’s size requirements. Although they don’t need to know how to walk yet, children should be able to reach the floor with their feet and hold their head up steadily before using a baby walker.