Our nine-month-old daughter likes to know what’s going on—all the time. She and the dog (a herding breed) compare notes and keep tabs on everyone in the house. You know it’s time for a walker when your infant develops a call and response game to keep track of you when you’re down the hall putting clothes in the dryer. The Chicco Dance Walker seemed like the way to go because of its simple design and the mp3 player hookup. Who wouldn’t want to strut around the house with a soundtrack?
When the box arrived, I was ready—sleeves rolled up, thinking cap on, toolbox out. Turns out I was over prepared. Assembly was pretty straightforward. I popped on the wheels and brake pads, push-clicked the backrest, fastened the seat pad and slid in the play tray. No fuss, no tools, no problem. I did, however, need to use a screwdriver on the battery cover to insert the play tray’s three AA batteries.
The base of the walker looked wider than I’d pictured, but fit through all doorways and hallways with ease. It took us a few tries to properly adjust the height because the manual had directions for another type of adjuster; but we figured it out fairly quickly and tested each position for safety. Collapsing the walker for storage is simple and it fits in our hall closet and car trunks. We’ve even stashed it behind the dining room door a few times.
Now, about that strutting. When we put the baby in the first time, we did it without the play tray attached because we did not want her to be distracted by all the buttons and sounds. We wanted to see if she would follow us. Nope. But she followed the dog (who always follows us … you know, with the herding and all) and, eventually, us. The cutest thing was seeing the realization, that she was actually moving and going where she wanted to go, wash across her little face. True, that can happen in any walker, but I’ll give Chicco a little bit of credit. Once she got the hang of it, she was hooked. These days, she struts, follows, lurches and sometimes even dances.
She loves the sound buttons and controls on the play tray. Unfortunately, one of the features about which we were most excited, the mp3 player hookup ended up being kind of a letdown. It’s easy to use and is out of her reach but the sound quality is bad. We thought we were better off playing the stereo until one day, we played her favorite nursery rhymes and she smiled. Turns out, fuzzy sounding speakers and all, the music makes her happy. That’s what matters.
We like the “Happy Orange” color and how the tray and seat clean easily with a damp cloth. You can also detach and machine-wash the seat if necessary. The walker is available in three more color patterns, each with their own sounds and controls on the play tray. With the walker’s height adjustment she has room to grow. Another great feature is the option to use the walker as a stationary play seat by removing the wheels. We appreciate the brakes’ safety function that limits her movement when she rolls on an uneven surface.
The convenience of this flat-folding, space-saving, versatile walker comes second only to the joy our baby feels when she makes a song play with her own, little fingers. The mp3 player hookup lets her listen to her favorite songs as she boogies around the kitchen. Overall, we are pleased with the walker. It’s a tad pricey, but our baby is happy and she’s getting to explore the house from a different perspective.
To buy: Diapers.com