Letters

Locomotor milestones and babywalkers

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7365.657/a (Published 21 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:657

Potential confounding factors were not measured

  1. Frances E Gardner (frances.gardner@socres.ox.ac.uk), university lecturer
  1. Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2ER
  2. Department of Dermatology, 3100 Thurston Bowles, CB #7287, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
  3. Leamington Spa CV32 6BY
  4. London SW1V 3AY

    See editorial by Taylor

    EDITOR—Garrett et al in their study of babywalkers provide some striking evidence of an association between use of walkers and delay in reaching motor milestones.1 The interpretation they give, that baby walkers cause motor delay, is very plausible. But it is also plausible that use of babywalkers is associated with factors such as lower educational level and social class of the parents, which are associated with rate of development.

    These variables could easily have been measured in a survey such as this and taken into account in the analysis. There may be a tendency for babywalkers to be used more often to “mind” toddlers under more stressful or understimulating circumstances, and this could serve as a possible mechanism explaining the apparent relation between dose and response found between use of babywalkers and motor delay.

    Perhaps the authors' interpretation is more plausible still, but public good would be better served by checking out alternative explanations before making policy.

    References

    1. 1.

    Infants using babywalkers are not developmentally delayed

    1. Simon Warren (sjwarren@med.unc.edu), assistant professor
    1. Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2ER
    2. Department of Dermatology, 3100 Thurston Bowles, CB #7287, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
    3. Leamington Spa CV32 6BY
    4. London SW1V 3AY

      EDITOR—Garrett et al in their …

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