Baby bouncers are elevated baby seats that sit at a semi-reclined angle. These products tend to be very popular, partially because they make it easy for parents and Baby to interact, but also because they tend to have a soothing effect for your baby. However, are baby bouncers safe for newborns? It all comes down to how they’re being used. And unfortunately, if they’re used incorrectly, they can be both unsafe and dangerous.
Keep reading to learn more about why baby bouncers are unsafe, and the proper way to use them.
Why are Baby Bouncers Bad?
Although baby bouncers are safe when they’re used properly, the AAP has recognized that many parents don’t know what proper usage actually looks like. The reason baby bouncers can be bad comes down to the angle of the bouncer. Baby bouncers usually position newborns between a 30 and 45 degree angle, which can be inadvertently dangerous.
Young infants (especially newborns) haven’t developed any of their resting muscles yet. This means that if their head flops forward, they don’t have the muscle tone to be able to lift their head back up. And in some cases, if their head flops forward, this could obstruct the infant’s airway. The lack of oxygen could ultimately contribute to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Straps on a baby bouncer can also be problematic. Baby bouncers usually come with straps so that your baby can be safely strapped in while they bounce. However, if left alone, a baby could become entangled with the straps. Instead of leaving a baby in a bouncer that has straps, letting your baby rest and sleep on a firm mattress is a much safer alternative.
The most dangerous situation comes with letting a baby fall asleep in a baby bouncer. The AAP specifically warns against using sitting devices for routine sleep, noting that infants who are younger than 4 months are particularly at risk for airway obstruction or suffocation (for reasons listed above). If your infant falls asleep in a sitting device, they should be moved to a crib or another safe sleeping alternative. And to avoid an infant falling asleep in a baby bouncer in the first place, parents should always supervise their baby when they’re in a bouncer. Leaving a baby unattended while in a bouncer is dangerous.
Are Vibrating Baby Bouncers Safe?
Vibrating baby bouncers are different from normal baby bouncers in that they vibrate. These can be popular amongst parents since the vibration can often help soothe Baby and put them to sleep. It’s important to note that if you’re choosing to use this product as a mechanism to put and keep Baby asleep, it’s not safe. It’s preferred to put Baby to sleep on a solid mattress or crib that lays flat (rather than at an angle).
If, however, you’re using this product to entertain and soothe your baby while you keep them under high supervision, then it is safe.
Tips to Prevent Injuries
To use a baby bouncer safely, the AAP has suggested the following tips:
- When using a baby bouncer, it should always be placed on the floor, as opposed to using it on a countertop, table or other elevated surface around the house.
- Similarly, don’t place a baby bouncer on a bed. If it were to tip over onto a soft surface, your baby becomes more prone to suffocation.
- Utilize straps or restraints while your baby is in the bouncer, and make sure they fit appropriately (not too tight and not too loose).
- A baby should always be monitored whenever they’re in a baby bouncer. Do not leave a baby unattended, even if it’s for a short period of time.
- Once a baby weighs 20 pounds or can sit up on their own (whatever comes first), stop using a baby bouncer.
Benefits of Baby Bouncers
After reading about AAP’s warnings and guidelines, you might assume that baby bouncers are inherently dangerous and should be avoided. While there are specific instructions and guidelines parents should employ when using these products, bouncers aren’t inherently dangerous. As long as babies are supervised, they can be a great tool. So, what are the benefits of baby bouncers?
For one, they can serve as a source of entertainment for your baby. Many baby bouncers or jumpers also come with activity sets that are meant to keep Baby engaged. Different colors, textures, and sounds can make a baby bouncer a fun learning experience for your baby.
Another huge reason? Baby bouncers give Mom or Dad a much-needed break. Putting your baby in a baby bouncer, jumper or swing allows you a hands-free 15 or 20 minutes. Whether you use this time to do some household chores or sit down for a meal, you deserve to have a few minutes to yourself. Baby bouncers can grant you that freedom.
All in all, it all comes down to how you’re using a baby bouncer. If you supervise your child while they play, and promptly take them out of a baby bouncer when it’s time to sleep, you’re using the product exactly as it was intended for. As long as you’re aware of the safety implications and do your best to use the product properly, then your baby is in good hands.