Physiotherapists voted yesterday to lobby for a ban on baby walkers, which they claim are responsible for injuring thousands of children and hindering development.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (CSP) conference in Eastbourne voted overwhelmingly for a motion to campaign for popular walkers, used by at least 250,000 babies in the UK, to be outlawed.

Research has shown that the baby walkers are responsible for injuring as many as 4,000 youngsters a year. Other studies show that walking and visual skills are damaged because babies in walkers cannot learn properly how their bodies work, and that mental development is also slower.

Lynda Rowe, a physiotherapist who proposed the motion said: "Parents buy baby walkers because they believe they will keep their children safe and help them to learn to walk. Physiotherapists know this is not the case."

Injuries sustained by children in baby walkers include cuts, burns, grazes and even severe head injuries if the walkers topple over.

A spokeswoman for Mothercare, which manufactures baby walkers, said: "Mothercare has always emphasised that the environment in which baby walkers are used is fundamental to their safety."