When your baby transitions from crawling to cruising, you may want to start looking for the best baby walker to help them take their first independent steps. There are a huge range of walkers on the market to suit a wide variety of tastes and budgets.
What is a baby walker?
A baby walker is a movable contraption that can help your baby take their first steps. You can have walkers your baby sits in, or Zimmer-frame type walkers, sit-and-stride bike types, or jumpers.
Their feet touch the floor, and with your guidance, they can learn to navigate a safe space and learn to walk. A baby walker is usually made of plastic or wood and it can be collapsible so that it can be easily folded away and stored. It allows them to explore areas by themselves and helps their legs become stronger in preparation for future walking, developing muscles and coordination skills. Walkers should be used for around 20 minutes a day so as not too put too much strain on underdeveloped muscles, and most baby walkers are suitable for ages six months and up, or whenever your doctor says it's OK.
What are the best baby walkers to buy?
We've found the best baby walkers currently available to buy in the UK to suit every budget, style, and need.
This baby walker, which was shortlisted in the M&B Best Baby Toy Award 2020, is not just great at helping your little one's balance and walking to develop, but is a great toy for them to play with too. You can remove the panel to play with separately, and there are plenty of interactive buttons and playthings to involved your baby.
You get quite a lot of return for your investment with this walker. There’s an array of toys on a removable tray and it converts from a static rocker to a walker at the flick of the sliding mechanism switch at the base. It also includes a comfy foot pad. Any downsides? There have been reports that it’s not so great on deep carpets.
This colourful two-in-one toy converts from a walker to a ride-on toy car, so it grows with your baby. Our testers say it has lots of fun features to keep babies and toddlers occupied, including a steering wheel, gear stick, musical buttons, and a built-in shape-sorter. Any downsides? It needs batteries which are not included. Read our full review of the Wobble Toddle Ride-On.
It sounds like an oxymoron, but with four play modes – sit-down play, walker, pull-along wagon and ride-on train – this is packed with features to keep little ones occupied even well after they’re walking independently. Our testers loved the letter blocks, light-up piano keys, turning book, beads, and cogs. Any downsides? It can be a bit tricky to steer. Check the full review about VTech Push and Ride Alphabet Train.
This converts from an activity unit to a walker and ride-on toy. There are lots of light and sound features, including songs and fun phrases, plus light-up buttons that help teach numbers and colours. Our testers enjoyed feeding the balls to the lion, and you can read their full review of this product. Any downsides? It appealed most to kids under 18 months (by which that time they'll probably be walking).
This product made the Mother & Baby awards 2018 shortlist for Best Baby Toy. The 3-in-1 activity walker is a walker, standing activity table, and sit-and-play activity centre all in one. There's even a cute little disco ball on the front that kids seem to love. Strong enough to withstand climbs and knocks, our panel of mum testers loved how interactive the walker was. You can have more information about this 3-in-1 activity walker on its review page.
This product also made the Mother & Baby awards 2018 shortlist for Best Baby Toy. This lovely zebra walker will definitely grab your baby’s attention. Lightweight enough to take with you to Granny’s house, our panel of testers loved the various lights and music features from the brand they trust. Any downsides? It would be easier to pop in the boot of a car if it folded. Learn more about this Fisher-Price Learn with Me Zebra Walker.
This 5-star baby bouncer on Amazon can be used in different forms providing sturdy support for little ones on the go. Also, it comes with lights and melodies activated by the steering wheel. They'll be bouncing in there for as long as you'll let them.
This baby walker will encourage your baby not only to move but also to grab and play at its many manual activities that make electronic sounds. It has a rigid backrest to offer maximum back support, and the padded seat is removable and hand-washable.
How do you choose a baby walker?
Baby walkers fall into four main categories:
- The seated walker – for very little ones who are just starting to sit up.
- The walking frame – basically like a baby Zimmer frame for tots who can stand up without trouble if they are leaning on something.
- The sit and stride - this could be like a little bike they can sit on and use their legs to move around.
- The jumper - a stationary bouncing seat that doesn't move around the floor but it does encourage your baby to use their legs, preparing them for the walker or walking frame stage, again assisting development and helping them build their muscles.
A walker with a wider base can prevent your baby from entering areas of the house you'd rather them not go into, like the kitchen and the bathroom. Make sure that the baby walker can move on carpets easily, otherwise your baby will probably just give up trying. Adjustable height and a padded seat are always good extras to have. Another good extra would be lockable wheels for when you need your baby to stay in one place. The cost of a baby walker can range from about £30 to well over £100.
Are baby walkers safe?
There has been a lot of speculation about the safety of baby walkers because even though it should go without saying, a baby left unattended in a baby walker is never safe. In fact, the sale of baby walkers is banned in Canada. In the UK this is a matter of parent discretion and there are safety tips you can follow to minimise potential dangers.
A baby walker should only be used under adult supervision and a baby in a walker should never be left unattended.
- Check what’s now within your baby’s reach – can they now reach dangerous items or even a cup of coffee?
- Do not let your baby use a walker anywhere near stairs or steps.
- Make sure your baby can't reach electrical sockets.
- Make sure there aren't any cables your child can pull on.
- Walkers should have the safety mark BS EN 1273:2005.
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