There are a ton of things you’ll need to make sure you get when you have a baby, and a walker can be among the most important of them. By supporting your child while they run around the room, they can get a little bit of independence that much quicker while remaining safe.
But as with all things baby oriented, it can be hard to ensure that you’ve got just the right one for your child. Instead of just guessing and hoping for the best, we’ve taken a closer look at over a dozen walkers in order to bring you five of the best.
For our money, we recommend the Safety 1st Sounds ‘n Lights Discovery Walker for most people out there. It’s light, mobile, and incredibly sturdy as well as having some novelty features which are sure to keep your child entertained. On the other hand, there are tons of them out there which are also great, so let’s stroll into our top five favorites and then we’ll help you make sure that you make the right decision the first time.
That said, the price is right and this is a high-quality walker with a lot to recommend for the average person and their child, provided they’re old enough to hit the ground with their feet.
Top 5 Baby Walkers
|Name||Material Construction||Weight Limit|
|Safety 1st Sounds ‘n Lights||Plastic||30lbs||Check Price|
|Disney Minnie Music||Aluminum and Plastic||30lbs||Check Price|
|Safety 1st Ready, Set, Walk!||Plastic||30lbs||Check Price|
|Joovy Spoon Walker||Plastic||30lbs||Check Price|
|Stork Craft Mini-Speedster||Plastic||16lbs||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Baby Walker
Safety 1st Sounds 'n Lights Discovery Walker
Our personal favorite of the walkers we took a closer look at is the Safety 1st Sounds’n’Lights Discovery Walker. The first thing we noticed was the construction, while it’s entirely plastic it’s also impressively sturdy overall.
Following that, the tray has a gaggle of toys for children to play with. These ones are dinosaur themed and were well received by children of both sexes, and the toys easily swing out of the way so that you can place food and drinks in front of your baby.
This one also folds down quite easily, ending up flat enough to be tucked away in a closet or under a bed when playtime is over. The padded seat is also easily removed, allowing you to machine wash it and the smooth plastic doesn’t accumulate grime easily.
There were two issues, however: this baby walker makes a lot of noise with an active baby at the helm due to all of the novelty toys attached to it and it’s really not suitable for children under about nine months due to the height. Even the lowest height wasn’t really suitable as a walker for smaller children.
Pros and Cons
- Tons of toys and features
- Toys swing aside for a large platform for food
- Both seat and walker easily washable
- Adjustable height
- Makes too much noise for some people
- A bit high for younger children
2. Best Walker for Baby Girls
Disney Minnie Music and Lights Walker
While it’s not without issues, this was undoubtedly our favorite of the “girl” themed baby walkers. This one comes in at a great price and has a sturdy frame which is capable of supporting up to 30lbs and an adjustable height.
Unlike our favorite, we found this walker was suitable for most children who could pull themselves up on the furniture since it has a lower seat. There are three height settings as well, so it’s sure to last for a good while as your kid gets bigger and bigger.
Sticking with the Minnie Mouse theme, there are a few toys here including a globe which lights up and makes music. All of this is powered by a pair of AA batteries, which are easily replaced when they inevitably drain.
The toys themselves make a bit of noise, but not an exceptional amount. The main problem we found was that the toys weren’t as sturdy as many of the others on the market so if your baby likes to get rough with things you may want to give this one a pass no matter how cute it is.
On the other hand, this baby walker has a nice girly theme and is high-quality apart from some of the issues with the toys. If you’re in the market to pick up a walker for a baby girl then you’ll be pleased with this Disney themed baby walker.
Pros and Cons
- Cute, girl themed walker
- Absolutely fantastic frame construction
- Rolls well on all surfaces
- Suitable for most children ready for a walker
- Toys could be a bit tougher
- Tends to drain batteries quickly
3. Best Walker for Baby Development
Safety 1st Ready, Set, Walk! 2.0 Developmental Walker
While people often think of baby walkers as something of just a way to get a child mobile early in their life, with the right additions a walker can actually make a pretty impressive tool for a child’s development when in the right hands.
This is one such walker, designed specifically to stimulate a child’s natural curiosity and get them playing in ways that foster mental development. You still won’t want to leave your child in it for prolonged periods, but the toys here are a little bit more advanced than “press a button and make a sound.”
It also folds down like most of our favorites. It’s a great way to approach things, allowing for much more interactive play than most of the walkers we looked at. Not all children enjoyed it quite as much as mashing on dinosaurs or whatever but they’re designed to promote development although we didn’t test them for long enough to know for sure.
That said, if you’re looking to get a walker that serves as more than just a walker you should take a closer look at this one. The science may not be there, but the toys themselves seem to obviously promote development at a higher level than anything else we looked at.
Pros and Cons
- Developmental toys
- Rolls well on pretty much all surfaces
- Easily washable
- Extremely wide base for stability
- Some children didn’t care for the toys
- A bit hard for some children to manuever
4. Best High End Baby Walker
Joovy Spoon Walker
If the majority of the walkers we liked were Toyotas and Hondas, the Joovy Spoon Walker was a Rolls Royce. It’s the safest, rolls on pretty much everything, and has a sleek look that puts function before form while maintaining style.
It’s also double the cost of the majority of the walkers we took a look at, so keep that in mind before you commit.
As a walker, it really performs better than just about anything we found. The market is flooded with low cost walkers, some of them good and some not so good, but if you’re willing to pay a premium then you’ll be able to get something which just performs better than any of the others.
Unfortunately, it’s also lacking in toys and lights.
But if you want a high-end baby walker, then Joovy has you covered with their line of extremely high-quality walkers.
Pros and Cons
- Rolls better than anything on the market
- Extremely stable and safe
- Three positions for different sized children
- Holds taller children than most on the market, topping out at 36”
- Very expensive
- No included toys
5. Best Novelty Baby Walker
Stork Craft Mini-Speedster Activity Walker
It’s a car. That your baby can pedal around the room, while playing with the wheel and horn. It’s also a great walker, and the premium cost for the styling is relatively low overall.
If you’ve been looking for a novelty walker that your child will love, then the Mini-Speedster Activity Walker is perfect. The sports car styling, multiple colors, and little electronic features make it a truly unique walker.
It’s also very good at its core function, which makes it a standout among the various novelty walkers on the market. In our experience, most kids really seemed to enjoy it as well. It’s a nice little blend of form and function overall.
It’s not perfect. It’s a bit more expensive than comparable walkers without the styling and it has a lower weight capacity than the rest of our favorites, but it’s pretty cool overall.
If you’re looking for a novelty walker which doesn’t sacrifice function, then take a closer look at the Stork Craft Mini-Speedster Activity Walker.
Pros and Cons
- Awesome styling
- Very mobile due to all four wheels swiveling
- Moves well on all floor types
- Interactive “car” features on “dash”
- A bit expensive
- Some reviewers felt four swiveling wheels were unsafe
What is a Baby Walker?
If you’re unaware of baby walkers, then you’re in for a treat.
A baby walker is a plastic frame with a seat, usually made of cloth, that has casters on the bottom. In practice, it’ll allow your child to use their feet to push themselves around the room before they begin walking unaided.
There are a lot of these on the market, and the ones that stand out generally have a handful of novelty features which will also keep your child entertained in addition to a solid, lightweight frame.
Keep in mind that they’re not a replacement for supervising your child or teaching them to walk. Instead they’re simply a way for a child to get around the room fairly safely using their feet and stay entertained, you’ll still need to keep an eye on the kid the whole time they’re in a walker to avoid any possible safety issues that might arise.
Baby Walker Frames
For the most part, the frame of a baby walker should be made out of plastic, possibly with aluminum or steel reinforcements over the joints.
Plastic frames are inherently lighter than metal ones, and if the frame is too heavy it can be a bit much for a child to push around.
There are a number of other features you’ll need to look for when you’re taking a look at the frame of the walker as well. Some are essential, others are just novelties that can be good to have.
Folding frames are great for those parents who have limited storage space within their living area. You’ll be able to fold up the frame and put it away in a closet or under the bed when it’s not in use, and a good folding frame will end up being almost flat.
Being able to remove the seat of your walker is another good thing to have. Babies make messes, and a seat which can be removed and cleaned in the washing machine is pretty much a necessity.
Ideally, the seat will come out easily and be made of a stain-resistant material. This is a pretty common feature, and a walker without it really isn’t worth a second glance unless it’s an extremely cheap walker you only plan on using temporarily.
Many walkers have a feature where you can lock the wheels and allow the child to bounce. Most kids will find this more than a little bit amusing.
Ideally, you’ll also be able to lock the wheels on the walker in case your child just wants to sit quietly as well.
Being able to adjust the height will extend the life of your walker as your kid gets a bit older. Even when they can already walk they can be used to restrict mobility rather than aiding it.
This is a pretty crucial feature if you want to keep the walker around for a good amount of time.
The frame of a baby walker should be made with a high-quality, lightweight material. High-quality, because babies can be hard on things and a break can be disastrous for their safety and lightweight so they can get a decent scoot going without having to push too hard on their legs.
There are a lot of additional features which can make a baby walker stand out as well. Some of the following are good to look for if you can fit them in your budget, just keep in mind that the more of them are on a walker the higher the price will be as a general rule.
Toys spread out across the tray of a walker can keep your baby amused while they’re puttering about. They come in a lot of forms, from relatively simple to more advanced toys with electronic features.
We prefer simpler toys, since you don’t need batteries and tend to make less noise, but ultimately the choice is going with you.
Speaking of electronics…
In addition to toys, it’s possible to find baby walkers which play music and have lights. These features are another great way to keep your child entertained while in the walker and they’re strongly recommended for kids who tend to be fussy when they’re kept still.
These are battery operated, so make sure that you have the right batteries in order to power them since they’re often not included in the package. The more electronic features on a walker, the faster they’ll drain the power out of the batteries so it’s usually a good idea to pick up a couple of spares.
There are some basic safety features which are pretty much required when you’re looking for baby walkers as well. They’re no replacement for supervision, but some of them can prevent serious accidents if you can’t get to your child in time.
- Friction strips are pretty much a requirement. They won’t prevent all tumbles, but if your child goes off an uneven surface they’re usually enough to keep the walker from tipping and going over.
- All folding joints and springs should be covered on the walker in order to prevent injury to the baby.
- Wheels should be able to be locked in order to prevent the walker from moving, and the locks should function well.
- The walker shouldn’t be able to fit through doorways, especially without tilting it, in order to prevent the child from leaving the room you’re in.
As you can see, most of the dangers inherent to walkers comes from the same place they offer an advantage: mobile children tend to be able to get into a lot more trouble than those who can’t walk just yet.
Supervision is always the best safety precaution.
On the other hand, regular safety features can help quite a bit as it’s pretty much impossible to keep your kid in your line of sight at all times. It only takes a couple of seconds for trouble to start, so the safer the walker is in the first place the better off you’ll be.
Health Considerations for Baby Walkers
There’s some debate as to whether baby walkers are actually good for a child’s development.
While walkers can help to strengthen legs early on, they can also affect the development of the hips in a child. There’s some evidence that they can delay development if used too frequently as well, both physically and mentally.
Whether or not this is worth it is going to be up to the parent in question. We advise using a baby walker for no more than an hour or two at a time until your child can walk on their own.
They’re also implicated in a lot of accidents around the house, but with proper precautions you should be able to avoid the majority of accidents.
Extra Precautionary Measures
When you’re allowing your child in a walker, you’re also increasing their mobility, reach, and their ability to get themselves into trouble in general.
You should make sure that you take all of the following precautionary measures, in addition to anything else you might think of, before you allow your baby to run rampant in their shiny new walker:
- Stairs are extremely dangerous for a child in a walker. A tumble while crawling is bad, but a tumble in a walker can be truly horrifying. Even if you have friction strips, it’s important to gate off any stairs which the child can reach to add an extra layer of protection.
- Make sure you keep the baby in one room, while a good walker will keep them from going through doorways you may still want to close doors just in case.
- It may seem like common sense, but you definitely want to keep your baby’s walker away from any source of water. Pools, streams, all of them are just a disaster waiting to happen when a walker is involved.
- Your baby is going to be able to reach much higher from a walker. Make sure there’s nothing sharp or poisonous within reach, since your child is going to be able to move quite a bit faster in a walker than otherwise.
- Don’t carry the walker with the baby in it. It’s just asking for some serious trouble.
- Remember not to let your kid hang out in the walker for hours at a time. Twenty minute intervals with a maximum of an hour or two across the course of a day is the best way to go.
- Inspect the walker for weakened joints and other damage each time you use it. If there are any problems, contact the manufacturer immediately, especially if it’s still under warranty. Don’t use it until it’s repaired.
- Always purchase your baby walker new. One which has already been used might have some stress on the joints or other damage which won’t become apparent until it’s too late, and you’re not likely to be covered under warranty.
Teaching Your Child to Use a Walker
Teaching a child to use a baby walker is a relatively simple task.
- The baby should be able to hold themselves up on their own before you begin to use a walker. Many parents wait until the child can actually pull themselves into a standing position with the furniture, which may be the better way to go if you’re worried about it affecting your child’s development.
- Make sure your home is ready for a walker. Remove dangerous items from your baby’s reach and clear the floor so there’s no obstructions to get in the way. Double check everything.
- Block stairs and other “falls”, even if your walker has a braking system to keep it from tumbling. No protective measure is 100%.
- Place your child in the walker. Supervise them as they putter around, and remember to keep sessions using it short. If you need to keep a child in a play device for an extended period you may be better off with a regular playstation without wheels.
- If your child doesn’t seem to like the walker, your best bet is going to be to get them to play with toys in it. Use an excited voice talking about them, your child will soon get used to it.
- Make sure you’re not allowing the child to become dependent on the walker, the motion is quite different from normal walking and other muscles are required in order in a real watching motion.
Making sure you’ve got the right walker for your child can be a challenging choice for a new parent. When you’re getting ready to finally pick the right one, we hope our guide has helped you. Take the necessary precautions and limit the amount of time a child is in one for the best results.
While walkers are sometimes decried, we firmly feel that they still have a place in the hands of parents who care. Used with care, they make a great diversion for a child and can help with their development. Just don’t rely on them as a babysitter and you’ll be fine.