Baby Swing & Bouncer Safety
Swings and bouncers give fussy babies the motion they crave to be calmed. The products that are available today are designed to be as engaging as they are soothing — and there is an abundance to choose from (learn more about choosing a swing or bouncer).
Yet, for most moms, the thing that matters most is making sure your baby is ready and safe for a swing or bouncer. These guidelines will help you avoid dangers by calling out important safety features, as well as recommendations from pediatricians and consumer groups.
Baby Swing and Bouncer Safety Guidelines
• What Is the Right Age for a Baby Swing or Bouncer?
When it comes to the use of a swing or bouncer, it is less about a specific age and more about a baby’s physical readiness related to the product. For instance, smaller babies have different needs than larger ones. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says, "Infants under age four months should be seated in the most reclined swing position." Consumer Reports also suggests that parents “Stop using a bouncer seat as soon as your baby can sit up unassisted if the bouncer is not designed to be used by toddlers.” These suggestions are intended to keep smaller babies secure, and heavier and more mobile babies from tipping over. Ultimately, you should combine these recommendations with the manufacturers' guidelines (for things such as a weight limit), so no opportunity for safe use is overlooked.
“The thing that matters most is making sure your baby is ready and safe for a swing or bouncer.”
• What Safety Features are Important?
Safety Harness: Babies should always be buckled into their swings and bouncers. Both use either a three- or five-point harness to keep baby as secure as possible. Consumer Reports suggests that babies in swings should use a five-point harness whenever possible: “This type of harness is best because it keeps a baby from climbing out of the seat and plunging to the ground.” The Ingenuity InLighten 2-in-1 Cradling Swing includes a five-point harness, and is also a 2-in-1; the seat can be removed to be used as a rocker.
Non-Slip Feet: This is a basic thing, but an important one. These products hold wriggling babies. Having non-slip feet keeps a bouncer or swing steady and in place.
Support: Keeping baby supported in a swing or bouncer is critical. Because these products are often for smaller babies, a built-in head support will provide both safety and stability. The Ingenuity Power Adapt Portable Swing includes a soft, plush headrest (which can be removed for washing). And, as the name suggests, it also includes an AC adaptor, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries running out when you’re on the go.
• What are Other Safety Considerations?
Always use a swing or bouncer on the floor, move it away from hazards, and keep a watchful eye on baby while they’re in either. The AAP also advises against letting your baby sleep in a swing or bouncer. They state: "If the baby falls asleep in a swing, car seat or bouncy seat, the AAP advises caregivers to move the child to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible."
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