What to look for in a baby walker (wagon)
It's widely known and appreciated that the Montessori philosophy doesn't support the use of baby walkers.
Walker wagons are a little different. They offer support and safety. Good walkers will allow the child to creep and pull themselves up to standing, then over time push and pull (backwards and forwards) until they are ready to take a step.
From Michael Olaf The First Year - Crawling, Pulling Up, Standing.
A walker wagon (wooden, not plastic) will provide a opportunity for the child to pull up and practice walking at will, but it will usually require the adult to turn the wagon around when the child reaches the end of the path, and push and pull toys are great fun for the new walker.
None of these things rush the child, but they all help give the opportunity for practice at the perfect time.
The Walker Wagon at Michael Olaf is probably considered the best. But there are other good options if you know what you are looking for.
Stability is key and wheels that won't run away from the baby.
Here is what I look for in a baby walker:
- Solid, heavy base. You can weigh the walker down with weights or blocks but you want a nice solid base to begin with. The heavier the more stable the walker will be.
- Width. The wider the walker the more stable. If you have a couple of walkers to choose from, try them yourself.
- Adjustable wheels or wheels with traction. One of the problems with the walker on the right is there is no traction and even on carpet moves too fast. Many walkers have wheels which can be tightened for the beginner then loosened once the child has improved skills. Wheels with traction, like the one of the left are ideal.
- Resists tipping. There are a few features that walkers use to resist tipping. This walker (below) has little stoppers which makes tipping really difficult.
- High base. A higher base will make it easier for a beginner to pull themselves up to reach the handle.
- Made from natural materials. It goes without saying natural materials like wood are best. Not only do they feel nicer for the child, they look nicer too!
This walker is from Montessori Child. I was happy to purchase this online as I trust Amy, she has high standards. However if you see one online you are not sure about, ask around or look for an opportunity to see and feel it yourself.