Pros: wide base, friction strips, sturdy
Cons: USE EXTREME CAUTION
A Word of Caution
Many people opt not to use walkers and instead use stationery entertainers for safety reasons.
I use a walker, more specifically the Graco Tot Wheels Entertainers, but only with an extreme amount of caution and safety awareness.
I want to give you some very important safety information regarding walkers before I get on to the review of the walker at hand, the Graco Tot Wheels Entertainer.
First off, never use a walker on any upper level of a home. Even if you have the stairway gated, the force of a baby running in a walker is enough to knock a gate down and allow a baby to fall. Falling down stairways is the most common and serious type of walker-related injury to babies.
Do not remove the friction strips from the base of the walker. These strips make it a little more difficult for a baby to develop the type of speed that makes accidents more likely.
Only use walkers of flat, unobstructed surfaces. Never use them on raised surfaces, and certainly never use them on tabletops.
Do not try to lift a walker by the tray and never carry a walker with your child in it.
Take your baby out before attempting to adjust the height of a walker. Failure to do so can cause the walker to collapse with your baby inside.
Last, but certainly not least--NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED WHILE IN A WALKER! Leaving your child alone even for a second (to potty, answer the phone, anything) can open a window of opportunity for your child to get seriously hurt. You don?t need that kind of guilt in your life now, do you?
To a lot of you, this information is common sense. Even common sense information bears repeating when the life and safety of a child is in question.
The design of the Graco Tot Wheels Entertainer has changed from what it was at the time Epinions placed the picture on this page. You can still find this older style of walker at second-hand shops, but if you purchase a brand new walker you will notice some substantial differences.
The base of the Tot Wheels Entertainer that I own is green plastic. This isn?t a cheap, flimsy plastic but a very strong one. It is approximately two and a half feet long by two feet wide. This width makes it tough to go through many doorways?a very important feature.
The two front corners of the walker have swiveling castors, and in the back there are two roller wheels.
Four blue, plastic legs (of the same quality plastic as the base) snap into the base at each of the four corners.
A yellow tray sits atop the blue legs. Where the legs and tray meet there are four red screws that secure the tray to the legs.
In the center of the tray is an opening for the seat. The seat is made of fabric and attaches via grommets to the tray. The seat back is raised for your baby?s comfort and safety.
My particular seat has a blue and white plaid design with giraffes, elephants, alligators and palm trees. I have seen other seat patterns in stores.
At the front of the tray there are two Mix ?N Move toys, one on either side of the tray. There are two toys included in the box, and several more that you can order from Graco.
The Graco Tot Wheels Entertainer comes in a flat box, so I knew when I bought it that it would have to be assembled.
I opened up the box and made sure that all of the necessary parts were, in fact there. There?s nothing worse than starting to assemble something and have parts turn up missing.
The owner?s manual has very clear, step-by-step illustrated instructions. There is minimal wording to the instructions, but the pictures make the assembly process perfectly clear.
I am not the most mechanically minded person around (as my husband will most readily tell you), but I was able to assemble the Tot Wheels Entertainer in less than 15 minutes.
The Graco Tot Wheels Entertainer is very easy to keep looking like new.
The friction strips under the base are to be cleansed with warm water only, no detergents of any kind should be used.
The body of the walker is easily washed with warm water, soapy if you so desire. Don?t use bleach on it, please.
The seat of the walker removes easily and can be thrown in the washing machine in warm water. You shouldn?t use bleach on it, but fabric softener is okay. After washing, toss the seat in the dryer and?voila! You have a nice clean seat for baby to play in.
My General Thoughts on Walkers
I think that walkers are an acceptable form of baby entertainment, but only when used properly.
I live in a single story house with a basement. I use the walker only because our basement stairwell has a door, and that door is locked with a chain lock at all times. I don?t (and never would) trust a gate to keep baby from tumbling down stairs. A determined baby can push gates out of a doorway.
I only put my baby in her walker when I am in the room to supervise her. She is only now able to move the walker, but I have already made sure that I have baby-proofed her play area. This means gating her out of the kitchen, keeping everything on the table well out of her reach, and keeping doors to the bathrooms shut?amongst other precautions.
I never started using walkers with my children until they were able to sit up on their own.
You should stop putting your baby in a walker after they can walk by themselves, are over 30 pounds, or are taller than 32 inches (80 cm).
Throw your walker away if it becomes broken or damaged. Don?t try to use it anyway or repair it yourself. You can order replacement parts for the walker if the damage effects only a small area.
My Thoughts and Recommendation
I was a bit disappointed when I looked at this walker on the store shelf and realized it was plastic. I had serious doubts about whether or not this product would be very durable. I ended up buying it because it would only have to last through my fourth and final child.
Since bringing it home and using it, I have had to eat crow?so to speak. This product has proven itself to be quite durable. It stands up to a two year old climbing in and on it, as well as a three- and a five-year-old standing on it.
I believe that this product is strong enough to last through as many children as you choose to have (within reason).
If you are in a position to use a walker safely, then I would highly recommend that you use the Graco Tot Wheels Entertainer. It is designed to keep a baby as safe as any walker can.