Friday, May 15, 2009

Walkers: Good or Evil

When Arica was pregnant we visited every store within miles that was even rumored to have baby gear. We studied and learned all we could about what we needed. As we shopped around we noticed a glaring omission. Where were all the walkers? I always thought baby walkers were a great thing. Every baby I ever knew had one, but now they are harder to spot than a polar bear in a snow storm. I have since been able to determine that walkers are considered evil death traps by seemingly everyone on the planet.

I am not one to blindly agree with the consensus. I would prefer to have my own independent thought about these things. I think that walkers are not inherently dangerous. They will not spontaneously combust. They will not take control of your children and drive them into traffic. They will not explode. They don't even have moving parts. They are simply plastic chairs with wheels.

Yes the use of walkers can lead to injuries. Children could fall down stairs. They could fall into the pool or roll into the street. They could even knock over things or pull them down on top of themselves. The thing is that the environment is what can be dangerous. Parents that don't pay attention to their kids in walkers are what causes injuries. Knowing that both Arica and I are attentive parents we bought a walker for Braden to enjoy. He is not quite big enough to walk around in one yet, but since they are impossible to find we jumped at the opportunity to get one when the chance arose.


If you don't think walkers are good for your child or your home then don't get one. I don't think that makes you a bad parent. I don't think it makes you a great enlightened mind either. I understand if you think the walker is dangerous for your child. I don't understand why it is practically impossible to buy a walker because some people are bad parents. If I am going to watch my child and play with him in the walker then I should be able to buy one. Bad parents screw up plenty of lives without getting involved in mine too.

I once heard Jeff Foxworthy telling a story about his child hood. He said they had a 300 pound TV teetering on a regular size TV tray. The kids would play around it. In response to worries that the kids could hurt themselves, the dad would say let him knock over that TV. He'll learn.

While I don't think the "He'll learn" philosophy is the best way to deal with this walker dilemma, I will channel my inner Foxworthy in another way. In honor of all the inattentive parents who have made it easier to buy a sub machine gun than a walker, I give you the "You might be a bad parent" jokes.



  • If you let your kid ride the walker down the stairs like Bode Miller in the winter Olympics......You might be a bad parent.

  • If your child uses his walker to chase cars with the dog......You might be a bad parent.

  • If you let your kid use his walker to sit in while he fishes in the pool.......You might be a bad parent.

  • If your child's walker has a briggs and stratton engine......You might be a bad parent.

  • If a leisurely afternoon involves napping while junior runs the Daytona 500 around the house......You might be a bad parent.

  • If your kids favorite room for walker exploration is decorated with ninja stars and samurai swords......You might be a bad parent.

  • If you use the tray on your sons walker to hold your beer......You might be a bad parent.

That's enough with the bad Foxworthy impression. You get my point. Feel free to add your own "You might be a bad parent" jokes. If we don't limit ourselves to the walker the possibilities are endless. Happy Fatherhood Friday.



18 comments:

CaJoh said...

No bad jokes here, but I do remember Johnny Jumpup which you attach to a doorway and put the child into. It serves the same purpose to increase leg strength and balance, but does not let the child roam around like a hamster in a ball.

Melisa with one S said...

You said it: the walker isn't what's dangerous; it's the parents who don't supervise the baby in the walker that are the problem.

I guess if you think that walkers alone are dangerous, then so are forks, tv remotes, pillows...

You two are totally on the right track. :)

Daddy Files said...

Will absolutely loved his walker and I credit his time in that thing cruising around the house to him being able to walk at 9 months. Screw all the uppity, prissy, overprotective Gymboree parents.

I'll take the walker and the concrete playgrounds of my youth.

Andrew's Daddies said...

I bought Andrew a walker in the shape of a sports car...it just took up space in our house. I agree with Melissa, if you supervise your kids...they will be safe.

GreenJello said...

The walker was the FAVORITE place for all of my babies to go. They begged for the mobility that the walker offered.

And guess what? I only used it where there were no stairs, and made it so that they couldn't grab stuff to pull on top of them while they cruised around.

Zero injuries from walkers at our home.

PJ Mullen said...

And people wonder why we are getting weaker a species with each generation. Someone visit my home started chastising me because I had a walker for my son. I live in a ranch home. Now get out of my house.

Tom said...

"Briggs and stratton engine" - I love it! That's a hoot! Hilarious list, dude.

Michael had a walker alternative: an activity seat with a saucer bottom, so he couldn't go anywhere. He managed to roll it over onto his face once, and he never sat in it again.

Mocha Dad said...

My kids all had the little push cart walkers.

Writer Dad said...

Unfortunately my early morning donut has now made me logy and I don't have a bad parent joke. Just wanted to wish you a happy Fatherhood Friday as well.

surprised mom said...

I love walkers. They allow a child to go, go, go and see the world, or their small part of it. Most children I've seen in walkers are excited and happy. It's too bad because a group of parents got scared, everyone else has to suffer. I'm tired of the minority ruling the majority or letting paranoia rule over common sense. Parental supervision when a child is in a walker is just plain common sense, which is making a disappearance.

By the way, I loved your "You may be a bad parent" jokes. Your inner Jeff Foxworthy is cookin'!

Apok said...

We should just put big bubbles on the tops of walkers, so they're more like hamster wheels. Then they can go unattended and not run into problems.

Libby said...

child balls...that would be perfect...
I just recently bought a walker for my youngest after going walker free with the previous child due to the ridiculous paranoia and pressure that takes parenting out of parent's hands. Oliver loves his walker...before we got it he cried with frustration trying to get around the house as fast as we did and his knees were sore...and he just loves it. We each have to make individual choices about many things our whole lives. People should worry more about the choices they are making than those of others they don't even know...As far as you child goes your instincts are probably always the best.

Happy FF

NYCity Mama said...

When my 3.5 year old was born we couldn't find a walker...we searched and searched...no walker. Poor boy was stuck on one of those bouncy thingies that don't move, as was his younger brother. Sucks...walkers have always had their dangers of course, but they were also fun for the kids. Glad you found one!

WeaselMomma said...

I agree that walkers are not evil, but for future reference keep in mind that very quickly and most likely when you head to the head to relieve yourself for 45 seconds Bradon will suddenly develop great upper body strength, speed and coordination. He will discover how to pull himself up to standing on the set and tray. This usually ends in a large crash heard throughout the house, pee splatter on the bathroom walls, deafening silence followed by blood curdling screams.

KWG said...

We don't have enough free-range room for a walker to be effective and fun for Beatrice. But she will be mobile soon and we've got to get crackin' on parent-proofing childhood danger. What about remote-controlled baby hovercraft?

I do like using the walker to hold my beer idea though...or the hovercraft.

Jason said...

My oldest never used the walker but my youngest LOVED it. I do know however that my sister's doctor told her not to use one with her 9 month old because it could lead to back problems. Same with exercise saucers.

mannequin said...

I didn't know that walkers are now wrong, wrong, wrong and an indicator of a bad parent but I don't think that's retroactive so I don't have to worry.
Uh, so yeah. Walkers are politically incorrect because it's kind of saying that those babies who don't walk in that manner are less than those who do.

Steely Dad said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more. First, it's just not right to judge a parent because they go about their business in a different way. And something I've realized is that many parents want something convenient; they didn't to have to actually do their job, which is to PARENT! Keeping an eye on their kid in a walker is too much work. And like you so astutely pointed out, if the kid is in a walker and gets hurt, they blame the walker and ignore the fact that they were cooking up gin in the bathtub at the time. One parent warned me that using a walker will delay walking!

Here's one: If you rig a lawn mower to the back of your kid's walker and send him out to cut the lawn, you might be a bad parent (but you might also be a rich entrepreneur!)