For parents, it can be difficult deciding on which one to buy. Swings, bouncers and rockers, although they have some similarities, are each unique. The ultimate solution is to buy them all (or at least two) providing your child a variety of stimulation. For parents with multiple births, having a least two of these can be a necessity.
1. Swings - The motion has a calming effect on babies. Swings provide a safe and fun space for baby to play and their open-top design makes it easy for the parent to get baby in and out of the swing. Depending on the model, movement can range from two to six speeds allowing a parent the option to change the speed of the swing to suit the baby's specific needs. Certain models come with timers and some have trays that can be removed or flipped up allowing smoother access to baby. The four types of swing styles are:
- Traditional full-size swing - Which only swings back and forth and is not recommended if space is limited.
- Cradle swing - Swings side to side and front to back. This type can be placed flush against a wall.
- Travel swing - Is a completely portable smaller sized swing that folds easily.
- Convertible swing - Has a swing seat that is removable and converts to a bouncer/rocker. A convertible swing works well in limited space.
2. Bouncers - Have a fabric seat suspended by a metal frame providing support that bounces as baby moves. As the baby uses their legs to make the seat bounce, they are also helping develop the muscles necessary for crawling. All bouncers have either rubber pads or non-skid feet to prevent the unit from moving while baby bounces.
3. Rockers - Have a fabric seat safely fixed upon a curved runner. A parent will need to provide the rocking motion if your child is not old enough to create their own motion. A rocker allows the baby to self-soothe without being consistently held by a parent. And select models may convert to a toddler chair or toddler rocker, making the unit even more functional.
FEATURES TO CONSIDER
- Entertainment - All units have some form of entertainment for the baby: it can be a combination of music, sounds, lights and toys. Toys will be either in the form of a mobile, toy bar or activity tray and will help develop your child's visual skill. For most models, the toys are removable or adjustable making it easier to get your baby in and out of the unit. Some models will play tunes, simulate nature sounds, and may have volume controls. Select models even offer a light show that projects onto a canopy and have timers for parents to control the duration of the entertainment feature(s).
- Vibration - Select models have a vibration unit with one- or two speed vibrations. Colicky or fussy babies may find the vibration soothing and help them to sleep.
- Restraints - Are the most important safety feature on a swing, bouncer or rocker. Restraints come in the form of a 3-point or 5-point harness. The difference between the two are: a 3-point harness sits around the waist and between the legs, securing the child from sliding down; while a 5-point harness adds two over-the-shoulder straps that prevent a child from falling over. A harness should be used at all times.
- Reclining Seats - Some swings and bouncers have reclining seats which is a must for newborns since they do not have head or neck control, and good for an older child when napping.
- Portability - Some models will fold for storage or travel and have straps to carry the unit.
- Stationary Mode - Select bouncers and rockers have a kickstand that can lock the unit into a stationary mode.
- Infant Inserts - Some models include removable infant head supports.
- Seat Pads - Some units have removable seat pads that are machine washable for easy cleaning.
- Canopy - Select models come with a removable or adjustable canopy to help shield baby's eyes from the sun.
- Power Source - All swings are battery operated, while some also offer an AC adapter. All bouncers and rockers that offer vibration or electronic toys are battery operated only.