Fines of up to $100K for owning, selling baby walkers

Canada has become the first country in the world to ban baby walkers/

Canada is banning the sale, advertising and import of baby walkers, warning people they face fines of up to $100,000 for ignoring the ban.

"Canadians must know about the dangers posed to infants through the use of baby walkers," Health Minister Pierre Pettigrew said in a news release, in which he said Canada was the first country to impose such a ban.

"It is the safety of our children that is of the most vital importance."

The ban will apply to the resale of walkers at garage sales and flea markets as well as the commercial sale of the devices.

Health Canada says too many children are still being injured by the devices, 15 years after major retailers agreed to respect a voluntary ban.

"In recent years, more and more baby walkers have found their way onto the Canadian market and as a result, injuries to children continue to occur," said a news release on Health Canada's website.

Baby walkers are essentially sling chairs on wheels that allow infants who cannot yet walk, to propel themselves around. They've been linked to falls down stairs and children being able to reach dangerous items.

A review of Canadian hospital admissions between April 1, 1990, and July 25, 1992, found 436 children under the age of about 18 months had been injured in walkers. Most suffered soft-tissue injuries, concussions, burns or fractures.

Other researchers have estimated that a full third of all babies using walkers will be injured. The devices allow them to travel at speeds of up to a metre a second, putting them out of reach before parents realize they have moved.