Every parent is proud to have an achieving child. No matter how little the milestone is, when our child achieve we feel some joy and some sense of accomplishment too, as if we did it. I still remember when my first child took those first few steps toward me without any help. I hugged him so hard you would have thought that he won, not just completed, the 1988 Olympic marathons, or I was told that he would never walk. Yes, even though he did something I fully expected him to do I was ecstatic when he did.
In that spirit, we want to help our kids to accomplish things. Some parents are too eager to help their babies walk they end up helping a little too much. There is an apparatus they put the child in, I believe it is call a “walker”, they stick the baby in there, the child is in sort of a sitting-standing position and the child is able to be supported by the device to walk, and ultimately walks faster than normal.
There is a normal range of time for a child to walk, or do most things, but each child is different. A child can walk between eight to sixteen months. If you have two kids, the first one walks at ten months, the other one is not late because he has not walked at twelve months. If you feel that child is late and you go find a device to help that child walk, you are doing this child a disservice that can give them a lifetime of back pain.
The spine has two normal curves. When a child is born the spine is straight. The important curves I want to talk about is the two lordotic curves. One in the neck and one in the low back. When a baby starts to lift his head, the middle of the neck pushes forward and forms a curve in the neck region. That curve takes muscles with it to build a foundation to hold the head, eventually when the neck bones are in their proper place and the muscles are strong enough, the baby is able to hold his head up.
The same type of curve in necessary in the low back in order for a child to stand and walk. When the child starts to sit, then assume the doggy position, then crawl this is all part of the normal positioning of the low back bones and muscles that will strengthen the child’s low back. When the back bones and muscles are strong enough to support the weight of the whole body the baby will stand up and walk. Not a minute before. Forcing the issue will have negative results in the form of low back pain during the teens and beyond.
As an impatient parent when you go buy a walker to help the child walk early, the bones and muscles of the back are not in place. Since the child finds himself in the aided walking position, the muscles oblige and allow that child to walk. However, because the necessary curve is not formed in the spine, the young child will become an adult with a weak back.
At first, because the body weight is low the young child will not have enough force put on the weak back to feel any pain. By the age of twelve to fourteen, the weight will increase to where a normal back will be needed to support it. Unless the child suffers from malnutrition and is not growing at a normal pace and weight, back pain will come early.
The teenager with a weak back will develop back pain early in their lives and that pain will continue for the rest of their lives. There is no undoing the damage. No major trauma will be necessary and no surgery or chiropractic treatments will be able to repair it.
This walker device has been banned in Canada and many other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, unfortunately it is still available for damage … sorry I meant sale, in the United States.
It is not so much the availability of the device that causes the problem but rather the anxious and eager parents who want to push their kids to do things early, so they can have bragging right and great stories to tell at dinner parties about what a great little achiever Johnny or Jeanette is.
Walking is not an accomplishment, it is a natural thing that will occur normally in each child. No need to hurt the child by helping/forcing them to walk earlier.
Every child is different.
It is ok to give a child your finger to hold as they are trying to walk, but too strong a support to lessen their effort that is necessary to strengthen their back, will subsequently hurt them. Love your child enough to let them walk on their own. Click to Tweet
It is important to understand, the spine takes a certain shape that allows the whole thru which the nerves travel to be a certain measure. If the spine is not in that shape, to produce the proper size of said holes, the nerves will be uncomfortable and squeezed thru. You may have heard the term “pinched” nerves. It means what I just said.
A pinched nerves in the spine, can be easy to fix if it caused by a displacement of the spine. Provided the segment was allowed to be in its proper place. When it is not, as in the example I gave using a baby-walker. You create an abnormality that becomes a painful normal for your child, who will grow up to be a normal size human and his low back that is supposed to be able to support his whole weight will not be strong enough to do that. So it will, but with a lot of discomfort and low back pain.
Remember also, if your child was born early, that child be slower in their physical development. Just allow them to be.
Don’t read into any weird action by your child to get them a walker. What I mean by weird action is some kids never crawl. Some kids crawl without putting their knees down. Some walk like a monkey before they walk straight. None of that weird movement is cause for a child walker. Don’t buy the child walker. Let the child be, because each child is different, even within the same household.