Wednesday, 1 May 2013

W is for Walking


                     It takes some longer than others, and is a tough one to master!


Walking........it brings so many discussions to parents of babies. When will they do it? How will we cope when they start moving about? Why is my friends baby walking and mine isn't?
It is a huge talking point for many parents and can be quite frustrating when everyone elses child is walking away and yours is not showing any interest!
This did happen to me. My daughter crawled later than others (11 months) and did not start walking until 14 months old. I often wondered if she was delayed for any reason, but soon realised it was something she would do when she was ready. I was advised by my health visitor at her 12 month check, that it was not anything to worry about as long as she walked by 18 months. If she was not by then, she would have looked into it further.

Every baby is different and will walk at different ages. It is a huge step in their development, if you will pardon the pun, and is very tricky to master! The best thing to do is to keep encouraging it. You can do this is many ways such as:

* Plenty of tummy time to strengthen the muscles

* Playing games where they will have to reach for a toy, therefore encouraging balance.

* Encourage walking holding on to your hands, starting with just standing and slowly adding a few steps

* Offer  push along  toys and encourage them to move their feet (although they sometimes roll away when they are not expecting it!)

* Make sure your furniture is sturdy enough for cruising around the room. This may take a little rearranging in the home, but can help them to find their feet easier!


Now this brings me onto the subject of walkers (frames with wheels on where the child is harnessed and encouraged to move their feet to get around) My daughter loved hers, but did not do much walking in it. She just loved the fact she was pretty much standing in it and it made great noises! Did you know however, that many countries have actually BANNED the sale of baby walkers! Physiotherapists have said that baby walkers cause over 4,000 children to have accident each year and should be banned full stop!

In 2000, Physiotherapist Lynda Rowe said "New research from the USA has shown that the use of baby walkers can interfere with babies' development of visual-motor skills and also deprive them of the learning activities afforded by exploration"  (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/735786.stm)

In fact the USA is one of those countries which have banned the sale of baby walkers. In the UK, baby walkers are still big sellers, and many parents have not ever found any issue with them. As with many things, it is often the situations the products are used. If the walkers are used for great periods of time with a child, then it is quite possible accidents may occur or developmental delays may occur. Parents need to be aware of the possible dangers walkers can inhibit, by supervising their child whilst in the walker and limiting their use accordingly. As I said, my daughter loved hers and had no issues with accidents whilst in a walker. We always supervised her and she was never in the walker too long. She is now a fully fledged toddler, edging her way closer to three years old and running rings around me, quite literally!!

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