OBJECTIVES: To study the impact of infant walker use on motor development and injuries. POPULATION: One hundred and eighty five parents or primary care givers who attended a Singapore government polyclinic from September 1993 to February 1994, with their infants between 7 to 10 months, for a developmental assessment session. SETTING: A government polyclinic in Singapore. METHODS: The parent or primary care giver answered questions pertaining to infant walker use and injuries attributed to its use. Each infant was then given the Singapore modified version of the Denver Developmental Screening Test (DDST-S), along with a full clinical examination; both testers were blinded to walker use. RESULTS: One hundred and sixty seven (90%) of 185 infants used walkers regularly, and 21 (12.5%) of the users had one or more injuries. Most injuries were minor, such as bruises and swellings on the head, forehead, face, and cheeks. None of the children who did not use walkers showed any abnormal DDST-S results whereas 18 (10.8%) of the 167 walker users had either abnormal or questionable DDST-S results. CONCLUSIONS: 12.5% of walker users had one or more injuries and walker use may also delay the child's motor development. These findings will help the physician or nurse in primary care settings to advise parents about the potential hazards of walker use.
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