Release date: July 15, 1998
Release number: 98-142

Release Details

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is informing consumers of the availability of a new generation of safer baby walkers. These new walkers have features that will reduce the stair-fall injuries associated with traditional baby walkers.

More children are injured with baby walkers than with any other nursery product. CPSC estimates that, in 1997, walkers were involved in 14,300 hospital emergency-room- treated injuries to children younger than 15 months. Walkers also have been involved in 34 deaths since 1973. Most children sustained injuries when their walker fell down stairs.

To make walkers safer, CPSC worked with the industry to develop a new standard. Each walker meeting the new standard and certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) must meet one of two requirements: 1) it must be too wide to fit through a standard doorway, or 2) it must have features, such as a gripping mechanism, to stop the walker at the edge of a step.

If consumers choose to use baby walkers, CPSC strongly recommends that they replace their old walkers with a new-generation baby walker, which meets the requirements of the standard. Consumers should look for the "Meets New Standard" label.

If consumers want a wheeled walker, they should buy one that has new safety features to help prevent falls down stairs. Another alternative is the stationary activity center, which does not have wheels. Whichever new product they choose, consumers should follow these safety tips when using a baby walker or an activity center:

-- Close the door or gate at the top of the stairs.

-- Keep children within view.

-- Keep children away from hot surfaces and containers.

-- Beware of dangling appliance cords.

-- Keep children away from toilets, swimming pools and other sources of water.

CPSC said that without the new standard, baby walker-related injuries would increase to as many as 32,000 injuries in 2002. With CPSC's intervention in getting the new standard in place, the number of baby walker-related injuries is estimated to decrease to less than 10,000 per year by 2002.