Using the best baby walker can be an exciting and fun way to keep your little one entertained. There are some mixed opinions regarding whether baby walkers are good for development and safe to use, but there have been many studies that show the countless benefits your baby will enjoy by using a device that encourages improved gross motor skills and development.
If you’re a first time parent, choosing the best model for your child can be a little overwhelming at first, considering you’re not sure how to go about comparing models or which features are the most important. Reading the best baby walker reviews can help you narrow down your choices while giving you a better idea of how each walker performs, what parents had to say about the overall quality, and what you can expect in terms of durability and features.
We’ve taken a closer look at the top three rated models on the market, each of which has their own special features to offer and are available at different price points. You’ll also find an extensive baby walker buying guide which details all of the features available and which ones matter the most.
Baby Walker Buying Guide
In general, when it comes to price and models under thirty dollars, you get what you pay for. These walkers are usually more of a toy than an actual baby walker. Typically, they’re made out of a thin, cheap plastic and are more of a walk behind toy rather than a sit inside walker. Instead of focusing on lower priced models that don’t offer the type of set up designed to strengthen you baby’s legs and encourage walking, we’ve looked at models that have a reputation for being very engaging, comfortable, and ergonomic.
It’s All About Entertainment
The entertainment console consists of a variety of toys attached to a large tray that wraps around the walker. Most of these entertainment consoles feature electronic light up toys, built-in rattles that spin and a variety of other toys that can help to improve fine motor skills. You’ll want to check if the walker’s console offers any extras such as vibration, teething rings, cup holders, or music.
Padding and Seat Fabric
The padding and fabric of the chair are also very important because both can have a major impact on how comfortable or uncomfortable your child will be, which, in turn, can affect how often or how long your infant wants to use the walker.
When researching different models of walkers, learn what parents have to say about the feel and quality of the seat’s fabric. Pay close attention to any complaints of chafing or other types of skin irritation, especially if your child has eczema. Some models offer soft, plush seat fabric, while others may be more rigid. There are pros and cons for both types, but your decision should be based on how you feel your child’s skin will react to the seat.
You’ll also want to check out how much padding the backrest offers. Many models have little to no padding, but there are a few walkers that offer a decent amount of padding for adequate back support.
Lastly, make sure the seat or the seat cover is removable and washable. Many walkers feature removable covers that are machine washable, which will be a huge bonus if your infant enjoys having a snack while they’re playing in their walker, or in the event of a diaper malfunction.
Height Adjustment Options
Most baby walkers will come equipped with a few height adjustment options. This type of adjustability will allow you to lower your infant in the Walker, closer to the ground when they’re shorter, and raise it once they hit a growth spurt. Essentially, the more adjustable a walker is, the more use you’ll get out of it. A model that has only a couple of height adjustment options is one that your child can quickly grow out of.
Foldable Baby Walkers
Generally, a baby walker is bulky and large. In fact, many are now as big as an exersaucer in regards to how much room they can take up. But the good news is that many walkers are foldable.
If a walker is foldable, this means you can fold it completely flat. Almost all models will feature the same type of fold, but some walkers don’t fold down at all and this can be a major issue if your home is short on space. Walkers that don’t fold down can also be a hassle to travel with because they can take up so much space in your vehicle.
If the model you choose does fold up, you’ll be able to stow it away when it’s not in use or stash it in the back of your SUV to make travel so much easier.
Wheels are also important. Essentially wheel quality can affect the core functionality of any walker. Most models feature standard sized wheels, while very few are equipped with smaller or larger ones. Size will still be something you’ll want to compare. Another feature you definitely want to check out regarding the wheels is how many of them are rotatable versus locked or fixed. The difference in these types of wheel setups is that the walker with four rotating wheels will be able to go in any direction, while the walker with the fixed back wheels will only be able to go back and forth.
Anti-Skid pads come standard on most models sold in America. They’re the rubber pads located on the bottom of the walker. Some models have more or less of them. The pads can also vary in size. These pads offer a number of safety benefits, such as preventing your child from going over a ledge or preventing the walker from tipping over.
Weight and Size
Not every walker is created equal in regards to weight and size. You’ll want to consider this when you’re narrowing down your choices. The overall size of the walker can give you a better idea of how a particular model will work out in your home, especially if the walker isn’t foldable.
Sit-to-Stand versus Seated Walkers
There are a couple of different types of walkers on the markets these days, both with their own benefits. Clearly, you’ll be able to see the differences between the two and already have an idea of which type you’d prefer to use to encourage your baby to be more mobile. Here are some points to consider:
• Seated walker models will allow your infant to sit and enjoy snacks
• Standing walkers can be a better choice to help a baby practice walking.
• Both types of walkers are considered equally portable since they can both fold up.
• Standing walkers are usually less expensive.
While both types are considered safe and highly functional, there have been complaints and concerns regarding each type, although these concerns are a little different.
• Seated models are often more difficult to use on carpet.
• With seated models, the back wheels don’t swivel, reducing mobility.
• Sit-to-stand walkers have a reputation for tipping over easily.
A baby loves the type of freedom a walker can offer, but they need a model that can keep them safe as they explore. Look for models with the following features:
• A wider base will prevent your child from venturing where they shouldn’t
• Anti-slip pads
• Speed reducers can prevent your baby from going too fast
Using the Walker
Your baby will need some time to adjust to using their walker. In order to help encourage use, put your baby in gently and ensure they’re comfortable. Make sure the walker is at the correct height, which allows them to place their feet flat on the floor. If your baby is standing on their tiptoes, this means the walker is too high.
How much should I spend on a Baby Walker?
Often, when we buy baby gear we tend to focus more on the higher priced models, and that’s okay. Often, these models will offer more safety features, comfortable seating, and better activity consoles. Ultimately, many of the higher priced models will focus more on the size of the activity consoles than any additional safety features, so you may end up paying more just for pre-recorded lullabies and a light-up rattle or two. If you choose a mid-priced baby walker then you’re looking at a model that offers the best in safety features but the activity console will be minimal. We recommend purchasing a model that works with your budget, but you should also consider the safety features we’ve mentioned and the types of activities your child enjoys such as listening to music and the kind of toys that can help to improve fine and gross motor skills.
Baby Walker Safety Concerns and Tips
A baby walker will allow infants, many of whom are not walking and have barely started to crawl, to be mobile. In other words, the walker allows your carefree infant to explore a world in which she or he doesn’t fully yet understand the dangers. Once a baby is mobile, they can touch hot surfaces, reach dangerous household cleaners, fall down the stairs, or pull on power cords.
Because of these safety concerns, it’s imperative that you only allow your baby to play in their walker under constant parental supervision. Of course, with your baby’s new mobility in mind, you should also focus more on improving childproofing in your home, even if you feel like your home environment is already safe.
So, how can you step childproofing up a notch? Start by squatting down to the height your child will be when they’re in their walker. Looking at your surroundings you may spot potential hazards you didn’t realize were accessible to your baby, such as items on your entertainment stand, sharp corners, fish tanks that haven’t been anchored, loose items on counters, a lack of guards on the stove and much more. Placing baby gates around the home can prevent them from sliding down those two small stairs that lead to the laundry room, or can prevent them from accessing any rooms in the home that haven’t been childproofed yet.
Following these steps will help to keep your child safe and happy as they roll around in their new walker in search of adventure.
Baby Walker Comparison Chart
|Product||Height Adjustments||Max User Weight||Color Options||Price||Link|
|Joovy Spoon Walker||3||30||4||$$$|
|Safety 1st Discovery||3||30||1||$$|
|Kolcraft Walker ||3||32||1||$|
1. Joovy Spoon Walker:
The Spoon by Joovy is a simple, yet elegant baby walker that features a wider base, larger than average removable tray, and a ton of safety features that will keep your little one safe as they explore. Just keep in mind that the max height is only thirty-three inches, which means your baby can quickly outgrow this model.
2. Safety 1st Sounds ‘n Lights Discovery:
This budget-friendly baby walker is packed with activities designed to keep your little one busy for hours. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a baby walker that can easily roll over thick carpet. While flashy and engaging, you may have trouble unfolding the expandable console, however, this minor issue wasn’t enough to deter moms and dads from bringing this highly interactive baby walker home.
3. Kolcraft Tiny Steps 2-in-1 Activity Walker:
This is one of Kolcraft’s top selling models. It works as both a sit down baby walker and a stand behind walker so it can be used right when you’re baby’s old enough to sit up independently and when they’re ready to take their first steps. This is a budget-friendly baby walker that comes equipped with music and an interactive console that will keep your baby entertained and engaged for hours to come.
The Joovy Spoon baby walker features an elegant, simple design, an extra-large tray and can easily be folded up when not in use. You’ll find a few height adjustment options, so you can get the best fit for your baby, and a soft, padded cushion with a removable cover, which is perfect if you plan on using the walker in place of a high chair.
The Safety 1st Sounds ‘n Lights Discovery baby walker features a vibrant, colorful design, a toy loaded activity console, three height adjustments and unique console design that allows you to extend the tray area. The toys on the activity console are designed to keep your little one engaged while allowing them to explore different colors and textures. The toys are also interactive and light up and play music when touched.
The Kolcraft Tiny Steps 2-in-1 activity walker can go from a sit-down baby walker to a stand behind baby walker, which means your baby will get a ton of use out of this model. The interactive activity console will keep your infant engaged and entertained while you get work done around the home. The included toys include teethers, toys of different textures and colors and prerecorded music. This model is also foldable, which just adds to the overall convenience the Tiny Steps walker offers.