In exersaucers, jumperoos, and walkers, a little baby learns from a very early age to lean their trunk forward against the front of the bucket seat or to sit in the bucket seat. Both of those positions are not ideal because the child now has their feet either behind or in front of the hips, not under their hips for appropriate weight bearing. The child isn’t learning how to control their posture and develop balance appropriately. In addition to learning poor postural control, babies learn to put weight through their toes rather than flat feet.
Walkers pose a greater concern than exersaucers and jumperoos because your child is learning to stand inappropriately and move their feet incorrectly. In order to make the walker go forward and fast, baby learns to simply lean forward and then move their feet along with the movement. They also will lean from side to side to shift their weight and take a “step” so they appear to shuffle when out of the walker. When a little one has grown accustomed to sitting in the bucket seat, they tend to have extra flexion in their hips and knees as the step forward. Walkers also pose a significant safety concern to our little ones. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for a ban to the manufacture of all walkers with wheels and the US Consumer Product and Safety Commission has issued a warning discouraging parents from using these walkers due to such serious safety concerns.
There are many great alternatives to these containers so babies can stay safe, but in a good position for motor development, such as baby play yards in your living room or a pack n play. Putting your little one in these containers when you’re in a bind or really just need a moment does not make you a bad parent.
The American Physical Therapy Association’s Section on Pediatrics recommends limiting use of commercial baby containers to 10-20 minutes per day. This is not a lot of time so that is why finding an alternative is so necessary. At the end of the day, being down on the floor and learning how to move is the best position for baby!