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Just yesterday you were cuddling your tiny newborn in your arms. These days, they’re scooting, crawling, and — gasp — even starting to pull up to standing on their own. Those milestones sure go by quickly!

While you’re mulling over what to get your little one for their first birthday, you might consider a baby walker.

Read on to learn about why a push walker can be a fun tool to help develop walking skills, what type might work best for your home, and important safety considerations to keep in mind while shopping.

As your baby nears their first birthday, they may begin to stand or cruise furniture. Some babies are even walking in the months before they turn 1.

Or not! It’s important to understand that babies reach these types of milestones at their own paces. The same goes for babies within your own family — what your first child did by a certain age isn’t necessarily what your other children will do.

The age range for most push walkers is between 6 months to 3 years, with 9 to 12 months and up being the average manufacturer recommendation on the bottom end.

Others say that you should rely more on your baby’s physical abilities. So, you might consider a push walker when your baby can balance on their own and pull to a standing position.

Whatever the case, your baby may benefit from some supported walking practice using a push walker.

You’ll see that there are a variety of options when it comes to walkers (and most anything baby-related, actually!). How to choose? Consider the following:

  • How mobile is your baby? Some walkers may be more suited to babies who are just sitting up and pulling to stand. Others can cruise fast and are more fun for independent walkers.
  • What type of flooring do you have? The weight and material of the walker you choose may work better on carpets, hardwood floors, tile, or if you have a mix of these floors in your home.
  • Are you on the go a lot? Some walkers fold flat for easy transportation to a sitter’s house or on vacations. Others are bulky and easier to keep in the playroom.
  • What is your budget? Walkers can range in price from under $20 to over $100.
  • What extras are you looking for? Some walkers are pretty simple, while others offer additional safety options, like rubber and locking wheels. Some walkers have lots of bright lights and music, while others are more muted and made from wood. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
  • Can I use a hand-me-down? If it’s only a few years old, maybe. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to purchase your push walker new, as older models may be recalled or have other safety issues, like broken parts.

You’ll quickly notice that there are no sit-in baby walkers on this list. This is because not all walkers are necessarily considered safe.

The key word you should look for while shopping for your baby is “push walker” or “push toy.” These are walkers where the baby or toddler walks behind it versus inside it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reports that thousands of babies are injured each year using sit-in walkers. These are the walkers that babies sit inside and that have four wheels on the base.

Sit-in walkers can give young babies mobility before they’re ready. As a result, they may be at a greater risk of accidents like falling down the stairs. And while design changes have improved over the years — for example, making the walker base wider than a door opening — the AAP calls for a ban on the sale of sit-in walkers for the potential dangers they pose.

Additionally, this 2019 study found that sit-in walkers detrimentally affect posture and gait patterns in babies learning to walk, and they can hinder their transition to independent walking.

TL;DR: Stick to a push walker.

Last but not certainly least, be sure to always monitor your baby while they use their push walker, and keep the space free from reachable hazards. Here’s how to babyproof every room in your house.

The walkers on this list are highly rated by caregivers for their function, safety, and quality. They also have some added features that babies may enjoy, and a few have more modern designs that parents wouldn’t mind adding to their living room decor.

Price guide

  • $ = under $40
  • $$ = $40–$60
  • $$$ = over $60

Best portable baby walker

Little Tikes 3-in-1 Activity Walker

Price: $$

Ages: 9 months to 3 years

The Little Tikes 3-in-1 folds flat for easy storage and transportation, making it a great choice for traveling or taking to Grandma’s house.

This cute walker has a jungle theme with a sliding monkey, peek-a-boo lion, a toucan ball spinner, animal sounds, and colorful light projection on the floor. Parents say this walker doesn’t tip over or roll too quickly. Others like that there’s an option to lock the wheels for stationary play.

Worth noting: A few people also note that the wheels may come off easily, posing a safety concern. This product also requires batteries, which some parents say were not included.

Best baby walker for carpet

VTech Sit-To-Stand Learning Walker

Price: $

Ages: 9 months to 3 years

The Sit-to-Stand walker features a lightweight plastic body and wheels, allowing it to glide easily over carpeted floors. It comes complete with a light-up keyboard, play phone, colorful gears, and shape sorter for entertainment (batteries are included).

This walker has excellent ratings and parents like that its removable play panel grows with babies from sitting to standing to walking. Several people also say it’s easy to assemble and a good value for the money.

Worth noting: Some note that there’s a speed adjuster built into the wheels, but that it only seems to work on carpeting and not wood floors.

Best baby walker for hardwood

Melissa & Doug Chomp & Clack Alligator Push Toy

Price: $$

Ages: 12 months to 2 years

The wooden construction of this push walker makes it both durable and attractive. The wheels have rubber rings on them to slow your speed racer down on hardwood surfaces (but reviewers say this walker also works well on carpets!).

The Chomp & Clack earns high marks with reviewers for its stability and simple but playful design. And others mention they like that it doesn’t have any flashing lights or loud music.

Worth noting: Several reviewers say that this walker is best for older babies and not those who are just learning how to walk. This is because, despite the rubber rings, it tends to move quickly and doesn’t have any built-in locking or slowing mechanisms.

Best baby walker for tall babies

Hape Wonder Walker

Price: $$$

Ages: 12 months to 3 years

Another wooden option, the Hape Wonder Walker also features rubber rings on its wheels to protect floors and control speed. It’s finished with all nontoxic paints and offers a variety of fun activities to develop coordination and fine motor skills.

Reviewers share that this award-winning walker is sturdy and suitable for taller babies and toddlers. One person specifically wrote that her son is over 35 inches tall and still regularly uses this walker beyond age 2.

Worth noting: Some reviewers mention that the back wheels tend to scrape the body of the walker, but that Hape will send replacement parts if necessary. And many others warn this walker is bulky and heavy, making it too difficult for some babies to turn on their own.

Best baby walker for small spaces

InspiraSpark Little Balance Box

Price: $$$

Ages: The manufacturer does not recommend based on age. Instead, baby should be “able to independently pull to a standing position.”

What exactly makes this pick good for small spaces? Several reviewers mention that their Balance Box doubles as a small table, meaning it performs double-duty in the playroom. Not only that, but if your small space includes various types of floor surfaces, this walker easily transitions from wood to carpet to tile.

The feet of the box also move up and down to give your baby more sensory input. Reviewers say this is more than just a walker and that it helps babies develop their sense of balance. Others love how it doesn’t fly fast across the floor like some other push walkers.

Worth noting: Several reviewers say they purchased this box specifically because it seemed it would not flip over as easily as other push walkers, but that it isn’t free from tips and flops.

Best baby walker with added features

Small Foot ‘Move It!’ Baby Walker and Play Center

Price: $$$

Ages: 12 months and up

This wooden walker from Small Foot, a German company, is quite large, but it offers babies a play cube for hours of entertainment — walking or not. The cube features shape sorting, counting flip tiles, a chalkboard, a play clock, and the top opens so your little one can put treasures inside it.

There aren’t many reviews of this product in the United States, but those that are up are favorable. It’s also painted in muted colors that blend well with a variety of decors.

Worth noting: This walker does look like it may be tough for little ones to maneuver in tight corners. And since it’s made of wood, there is the potential that it may chip over time.

Best budget-friendly baby walker

Fisher-Price Learn with Puppy Walker

Price: $

Ages: 6 months to 3 years

Key features: As with all things baby, your little one may or may not enjoy a walker. Don’t want to break the bank finding out? The Fisher-Price Puppy Walker comes in at under $20 but offers plenty of entertaining features.

This sit-and-play or stand-and-push walker can play 75 songs, and it introduces the alphabet, numbers, and even Spanish phrases! Reviewers say it’s super easy to assemble and that all the bonus educational activities are a good value for the money.

Worth noting: Several people say that the plastic wheels fly too quickly on wood and tile flooring. Others say its lightweight construction makes it tip over when babies try to pull up to stand.

Before you know it, your baby will be taking their first steps. A walker can make the process a bit more exciting for everyone involved. Regardless of what walker you ultimately choose, you should always monitor your baby when they’re using one.

And while you’re at it, make sure the area where they’re walking around is babyproofed and free from hazards. After all, little legs can cruise around pretty quickly once they get going!