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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 year old.

Or not! It’s important to understand that babies reach these types of milestones at their own pace. 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 for minimum age.

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 push 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 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. Older models may have been 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 Light ‘N Go 3-in-1 Activity Walker

Price: $$
Ages: 9 months to 3 years

This 3-in-1 push walker 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, a 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 note that the wheels may come off easily, posing a safety concern. This product also requires batteries, which some reviewers say were not included.

Pros

  • folds flat
  • doesn’t move too fast
  • wheels lock for standing play

Cons

  • requires batteries
  • wheels may come off easily

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 people 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.

Pros

  • simple to assemble
  • works well on carpet
  • suitable for sitting, standing, and walking

Cons

  • speed adjuster only works on carpet

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 from 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.

Pros

  • attractive wood construction
  • rubber rings on wheels for smooth operation
  • no flashy extras (lights, noise, etc.)

Cons

  • may move too fast for younger tots
  • doesn’t include any locking 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 about a child over 35 inches tall who 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.

Pros

  • wood construction finished with nontoxic paint
  • good choice for taller babies or toddlers

Cons

  • more expensive than other walkers
  • bulkier body can make it difficult to turn

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.

Pros

  • doubles as a table
  • suitable for wood, tile, or carpeted flooring
  • doesn’t move as fast as other walkers

Cons

  • doesn’t feature additional activities
  • price point is high compared to other walkers

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, and a play clock. Plus, 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 decor styles.

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.

Pros

  • full play cube for entertainment beyond walking
  • muted colors go with various decors
  • sturdy wood construction

Cons

  • may be difficult to move in small spaces
  • may be heavy for younger babies to push
  • price point is high compared to other walkers

Best budget-friendly baby walker

Fisher-Price Learn with Puppy Walker

Price: $
Ages: 6 months to 3 years

As with all things baby, your little one may or may not enjoy a push 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.

Pros

  • inexpensive, basic walker
  • easy to assemble
  • features lots of activities, songs, lights, and colors

Cons

  • lightweight body may move too quickly for novice walkers
  • may tip easily if baby pulls to standing

Best for creative play

Bright Starts Giggling Gourmet Walker Shopping Cart

Price: $$

Ages: 6 months to 3 years

The Bright Starts Giggling Gourmet Walker is a shopping cart loaded with food-themed toys to engage your little one in creative play.

The walker can be pushed or used as an activity table while your child is standing. You can also remove the cooktop whenever your tot wants to fill the cart with their own toys.

This push walker features a stable, sturdy base that reviewers say is easy to assemble right out of the box. And many caregivers say the food toys and their associated noises (popcorn popping, egg sizzling) are a hit with the toddler crowd.

Worth noting: Several reviewers say the wheels don’t turn well on hardwood floors, so this walker may be best on carpets. Similarly, the locking wheels don’t prevent the walker from being pushed forward on smooth surfaces.

Pros

  • fun kitchen theme for imaginative play
  • suitable for pushing or standing (with locks)
  • easy to assemble

Cons

  • doesn’t maneuver well on wood floors
  • locks may not work on carpet

Best baby walker for growing

YBike’s Pewi Walker Ride-On Toy

Price: $$

Ages: 9 months to 3 years

The Pewi Walker Ride-On bike by YBike provides several ways to play depending on your child’s age and abilities. Younger babies can push and walk behind it, and older toddlers can use it as a small indoor bike to scoot around.

Reviewers like that this walker can be used for indoor or outdoor play (on flat, stable surfaces). Other positives: It can support weight up to 44 pounds and its 360-degree caster wheels won’t leave marks on your flooring.

Worth noting: Reviewers say this walker moves very quickly on hardwood and other smooth surfaces. It may be safer on carpet or grass, especially with younger children. Others say they wish there were wheel locks or some other way to make it stationary.

Pros

  • move from push walker to scooting bike as your child grows
  • works well indoors and outdoors
  • supports up to 44 pounds

Cons

  • moves quickly on smooth surfaces

Best baby walker for bonus storage

Radio Flyer’s Classic Walker Wagon

Price: $$$

Ages: 12 months to 4 years

Radio Flyer’s Classic Walker Wagon does double duty as a push walker and cart to tote around all your little one’s favorite toys. When your child isn’t pushing it, you can store stuffed animals, books, or whatever else you want inside the wagon.

Reviewers say this walker is sturdy and the classic wood construction looks nice enough to keep out with the rest of their home decor. Others mention they like that it doesn’t take batteries or make distracting noises or lights like other walkers.

Worth noting: A few caregivers say this wagon is heavy and somewhat cumbersome for younger babies. And several people say pieces were missing in the box, screws included were the wrong size, or that pieces were chipped — so make sure to check these items before assembling it yourself.

Pros

  • walker and wagon in one
  • attractive wood construction
  • provides additional toy storage when not in use

Cons

  • heavy and large for younger babies
  • high price point compared to other walkers
  • may be damaged or missing parts

Is it safe to use a baby walker outside?

Yes — you may use a push walker outdoors as long as you supervise your child. For example, do not let your child wander out of view or walk near roads, driveways, pools, or other hazards.

Also make sure your child is walking on a flat and stable surface (no loose rocks, hills, or other obstacles). Cut grass may be particularly soft and forgiving of falls while long grass may be difficult to manage for newer walkers.

How long should a baby use a baby walker?

Each push walker has its own age limit set by the manufacturer. Your child can safely use a walker within this range. And even after your child is walking confidently, they may still want to play with the walker from time to time.

As far as when you might expect your tot to leave the push walker behind and walk on their own, that tends to happen around 18 months. Each child is unique, though. If your little one seems hesitant to walk without assistance after this age or you have other concerns, mention it to your pediatrician.

Should all babies use a baby walker?

A push walker can be a useful tool for getting your child to gain confidence in walking independently. That said, not all babies will use push walkers or similar toys in their journey to walking.

Some kids cruise furniture, for example. And there are many other ways you can teach your baby to walk without a push walker, like placing toys around the room as an incentive to move.

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 which 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 babyproof and free from hazards. After all, little legs can cruise around pretty quickly once they get going.