It’s been awhile since I’ve had a child at the age that would even entertain a “baby walker”, but I recently saw a quote posted on Facebook by Tim Moen, the leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada, where he stated that he is going to end the ban on them. So I ofcourse started researching the legislation and reasoning.
The fine for selling a Baby Walker (new or used) can be up to $100,000 in Canada. Retailers voluntarily stopped selling them two decades ago, but politicians in Canada made it officially illegal to bring them back into Canada and Health Canada recommends that if you have one you should not pass it down, but rather throw it away.
Many of us who were born between 1960 and 1990 were put in these walkers around the age of 1-2 so that we could walk around our parent’s living rooms assisted and regularly bumped into things.
In 2007 the Canadian Federal Government made it illegal to import, sell (at retail level or privately and used) Baby Walkers by adding them to the “Hazardous Products Act“, that was created in 1985.
According to very popular and widely visited website Baby Center they state the following about Baby Walkers:
Most injuries are caused by falls when the baby walker tips and the baby is thrown downstairs or crashes into furniture, heaters or ovens. There is also an increased risk of your baby being burnt by previously inaccessible objects, such as candles and hot cups of tea. Thirdly, it allows her to reach household poisons, such as perfume, mouthwash or alcohol, left at a previously safe level.
Now, I am not saying that the above probably isn’t true…. But, remembering back to when my son was just learning to walk I remember all of the above applying when he was simply staggering around trying to get from one side of the living room to the kitchen. Even when closely monitored and watched! Not to mention when you start taking them to parks.
According to the Globe and Mail 23,000 children are injured annually in Baby Walkers in the U.S.
I have been unable to find statistics on how many children were injured annually in Canada by Baby Walkers.
Baby walkers are NOT banned in the US.
While I completely understand that it is important we as parents acknowledge products and\or services that are not safe for our children… But as there haven’t been any noted long term medical disabilities caused to Millenials who very often used them as toddlers, do we really need to legislate this kind of policy? Do the parents of Canada really need to be forced by law into not using recommended products? And more importantly, should we be sending our highly paid politicians to Ottawa to vote on this type of legislation? It feels a lot bureaucratic to me, and not very sensible. I mean here we are in 2017 with the Federal government is about to legalize marijuana knowing that teenagers use it and statistics prove that more than two times the amount of minors use it and are subjected to medical issues because of that than adults 25 and older. I am not against the legalization of marijuana, I am just having some difficult understanding some of our politician’s objectives. Many of them aren’t even discussing proposed legislation or policy to somehow lessen the usage by minors.
According to Safe Kids Canada’s “Child Pedestrian Report” nearly 1,400 children are hit by cars while walking. Do we ban children from walking on sidewalks? Or parents from letting their children walk on sidewalks?
According to Statistics Canada Children aged 12-19 65% of all injuries happen while participating in Youth Sports. Should we ban children from playing sports?
SafeKid.org states that over 800 children are injured in car accidents each year in Canada. Should be ban children from being allowed in cars?
And one of the most interesting statistics I’ve found (if you are reading this and thinking “none of these references are in any way parallel to children aged 1-2 being hurt), according to the Canadian Pediatric Society, 54% of injuries causing death were because of a “threat to breathing” (choking), 39% of injuries leading to hospital visits of children between the age 1-4 are caused by Falling, and 56% of injuries leading to hospital visits for the age group 5-9 are caused by falling as well. Further to that the Canadian Pediatric Society lists a many of common household items like buttons, coins and lego as the primary objects causing choking. Do we legislate the “recommended” ages on toys so that if a parent purchases lego recommended for a 3 year old and gives it to a 2 year old they are fined?
I am in no way stating that there should not be rules and legislation around the safety of our children. But what I am saying is that we have enough systematic departments that should be creating official recommendations such as Health Canada and these should be generally followed by parents. For example, too many children have peanut allergies so Health Canada recommends you don’t send your children to school with peanuts in their lunches. Schools implemented policies to enforce it. There are no fines involved. Many toys and activities that our children are involved in could cause injury. Part of parenting is understanding those risks and ensuring that your child is safe. I believe what we need to start really thinking about as our politicians write legislation and proceed to voting on it is understand that there should be a balance of law and responsibility when it comes to all civilians living in Canada.
I am not a supporter of the Libertarian party, though I was once a member when they were running federally (along with my primary membership to the Canadian Conservative Party of Canada). Most of their policies are too far out there for most of us to support, but principles in this quote resonated with me for sure.