This 2007 review of 26 studies appears to be the most comprehensive analysis of research about baby equipment and motor development. It’s also important to note that this research was conducted in what anthropologists describe as WEIRD cultures: western, educated, industrial, rich, democratic countries.
Two sources for more information.
Some problems are unrelated to motor development. An NPR article details baby walker injuries, including skull fractures, broken bones, and concussions. Baby walkers are banned in Canada. Babies who are propped up or seated are dependent on caregivers for entertainment since they’re essentially frozen in a position — they can’t come to sitting position or get out of the position themselves, which means they can’t reach for toys and explore their environment.
Want to nerd out? Check out this fascinating chapter about learning to move and moving to learn.
Via a 2015 chapter from the Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, Volume 2, Cognitive Processes, 7th Edition.
Movement is theorized to drive cognition. Evidence supports this theory, some of which is described in this 2013 paper.
Researchers used the term “constraining devices.” Car seats also constrain infant leg movement; researchers recommend limiting their use to the car.
Okay, okay, I know it’s a little much…but movement is important. And it turns out it’s important for school-aged kids, too.
The American Physical Therapy Association’s statement. “Prone to play,” aka, tummy time, which is “Back to sleep’s” sister campaign, promotes some motor milestones. Also, researchers report that overuse of infant car seats, bouncy seats, and swings may be related to flat head syndrome.
As with any workout, it takes some time to build up stamina and interest.