Pediatricians push to ban baby walkers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Doctors are making a renewed push to ban the sale of baby walkers as hospitals continue to treat more than 2,000 babies a year for injuries caused by the devices.

Pediatricians say walkers have no benefits for children or their parents.

Skull fractures, concussions and broken bones are among the injuries caused by infant walkers that doctors say they see in emergency rooms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been pushing for a baby walker ban for decades.

Manufacturers have voluntarily tightened safety standards, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission mandating brakes on baby walkers in 2010 to prevent falls down staircases.

That has slowed the rate of injuries, but doctors say thousands of children still suffer needless harm.

"Pediatricians have been against infant walkers for many, many years," said Dr. Scott Dattel, of Kansas City Pediatrics. "It’s interesting, Canada banned infant walkers in 2004. The United States, we just haven’t banned it yet. A quarter-million infants have been injured by infant walkers in the past 25 years. That’s enough to fill the Chiefs stadium three times."

Dr. Dattel says studies have shown that walkers actually can hurt a baby's gross motor development skills. He says stationary devices are much safer and can serve the same purpose for parents, providing infants with activity stations without uncontrolled movements.

A recent study shows infant walkers, baby carriers, strollers, changing tables and bath seats bring kids who are 3 and younger to the emergency room every eight minutes. And those injuries are increasing.

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