Being a mum to two girls, there’s no better feeling for a parent than seeing their children wiggle and jiggle and having the best time of their life. However, in more recent times baby bouncers have become a rather controversial piece of equipment, criticized by many for potentially creating more harm than fun. Whilst my girls are past the baby stage, I still have lots of friends becoming pregnant and having little ones, so before purchasing anything for a baby, whether it is baby bouncers, car seats or toys, it is important to do your research – so here is some helpful advice for you!
Feature image credit: FamVeld/Shutterstock
Are baby bouncers harmful?
Like any other piece of equipment, a baby swing or bouncer can potentially be dangerous if not used properly. Most accidents happen due to human misuse, and all parents are advised to read and follow the instructions.
One mistake most parents do is leaving their children in the bouncer for a long period of time. While it’s nice to have your hands free for a minute, leaving your child in the bouncer for too long could potentially be harmful. The bouncer is designed to secure the baby in a half-lying, half-sitting position, and experts are warning that this may lead to him or her developing positional plagiocephaly, also known as ‘flattened head syndrome’. This is a condition which results in part of a baby’s head becoming flattened due to sustained pressure on one spot. This can be easily avoided by limiting use to 20-30 minutes, and never let your child sleep in the bouncer.
What the research says
A study that examined 43 infants and their motor development when using play-assist equipment has left many unsure about the safety of these items. The results revealed that the children using the equipment the most would score lowest on infant motor development, in comparison to those who rarely or never use such equipment. Because there were no other tests to support this study, parents are encouraged to only allow moderate use of such equipment within the home, to ensure healthy child development.
When is it time to stop?
Whilst you may never want your baby to grow up, they eventually will, and there will be a time when they will be too big for the bouncer. The majority of baby bouncers will only be good if your baby weighs between 18 and 30 pounds. A general rule is that, if your child is big enough to sit on his or her own, then he or she is too big for the bouncer. This usually happens at the age of 6 months. If you want a piece of equipment to last you a little longer, there are some multiple-purpose baby seats that will be suitable for a wider age range. Do your research thoroughly and make sure you only buy products from authorised sellers.
Let ‘em bounce! But never for longer than about 30 minutes, and make sure you are there to supervise them. Never purchase any piece of equipment without doing your research and always follow safety and operation guidelines. Choose the highest quality for your child, and buying equipment that will suit their age and needs will keep your baby safe and happy.