Wednesday 5 January 2011

The Walker Debate

When baby J's 二叔 (2nd uncle) wanted to buy her a 1st month present, her 奶奶 (paternal grandma) immediately suggested getting a baby walker. After hunting down many different stores and getting baby J to try out different walkers, we managed to find one that she likes and bought it on his behalf.

The Mamalove 2-in-1 Walker

We liked this one because it can be used as a walker as well as a stationary activity center when we don't want her to move around. It has animal sounds, music and toys for her to play with, which she loved.

However, I couldn't help but notice as we were shopping for walkers that not all stores sold them. In fact, those that didn't included Mothercare and Motherswork, both famous for their sale of inported baby and child products. It then occured to me that maybe it was a cultural thing. Maybe it was an Asian thing.

So as usual I took to the trusty 'mother's encyclopedia', i.e. the internet, looking for evidence to support my theory. From what I've read, turns out that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indeed do not encourage the use of walkers claiming that it actually delays children's walking and causes accidents. The Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) also does not encourage the use of walkers or sarongs for fear that the child may get hurt.

Asian parents however seem to be divided on this debate. Some say it's dangerous and not recommended while others say that they have used it on all their children and each turned out fine.

So what's the verdict?

I honestly do believe that it is a very Asian thing to use walkers and 'yao lan' (Chinese for hanging cloth cradle) even though it has been shown to be ineffective and dangerous. Our parents and their parents have used it without problems so it made sense that it's ok for us to use it.

I have to say that I am of the opinion of the AAP and HPB with regards to sarongs and walkers. But why do I let my baby use them anyway, you say? Because my mother-in-law wants them. And I respect her methods of parenting even though it may be different from mine. Her three kids turned out perfectly fine and I married one of them. My only request is that they keep an eye on her and not let her get too dependent on it. My rule in general for anything is if my baby's too dependent on it, throw it out. That includes pacifiers, pillows and to a certain extent, people (which I realise can't be thrown out but can be taken away from).

So I let her suck on her pacifier, sleep in a 'yao lan' and walk in a walker.

"Look ma, I can only walk backwards..."

I take faith in God to take care of my baby over science any day.
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