Buying Guide to Baby Swings & Bouncers

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Swings and bouncers are wonderful ways to soothe a fussy baby or occupy an infant for a few minutes while you get things done nearby. They can easily become a lifesaver for exhausted parents by helping an infant fall asleep peacefully.

Buying Guide to Baby Swings & Bouncers

Both bouncers and swings come in a variety of styles, from classic models with basic functionality to high-tech models that can play music or white noise as they soothe baby. Here's how to pick the right seat for you.

Your baby likes You can use
A steady rocking motion A swing will rock your baby back and forth (or from side to side) in a steady motion.
Vibrations, like in a moving car A vibrating bouncer offers a subtle movement to help soothe children who like the gentle hum of riding in the car. It's usually powered by batteries.
Less predictable motion A basic bouncer moves in response to your baby's motions, making the amount and type of movement completely under your baby's control.
A variety of motion types A convertible bouncer/swing gives you multiple settings, enabling you to try to find one that soothes your baby.

You will also want to ensure that it has all the features you need to keep your baby safe-and entertained. Here are some of the most common features.

Feature What It Does & Why You Want It
A wide, sturdy base This helps reduce the risk of tipping and injury when your baby is using the swing or bouncer.
Restraints Some swings and bouncers offer a five-point harness which prevents a child from falling over.
Easily removable-and machine washable-cushions Cushions that are easy to remove make it simple to clean up any messes.
Adjustable settings Many of the more elaborate swings and bouncers offer a variety of rocking or vibrating modes, to help ensure your baby finds the right setting.
Entertainment Some models play music and songs, while others offer toy bars and mobiles for your baby's interactive play.
Foldable If you're short on space, some models will fold for storage minimizing baby clutter in your home, and making it easier to take your swing or bouncer on the road.

Babies often outgrow baby swings and bouncers early on in their lives-by six months old babies may be too large, or too advanced to happily and safely keep sitting there. That makes it even more important that you choose the right one before you buy.

Customized for Comfort

Many swings and bouncers come with a variety of features to help make your baby more comfortable.

  • Infant headrest. This feature helps bolster the tiniest heads, keeping them safe and secure.
  • Reclining features. The seat can help your baby lean back and relax.
  • Music/white noise playback. Music (or the simple whir of white noise) can help soothe your baby to sleep.

Life Span of a Swing or Bouncer

Most swings and bouncers are only meant to be used for the first few months of life-generally, until the baby starts rolling over and sitting up unassisted. It usually becomes unsafe for him to use the bouncer or swing at that point, as his movements could tip the seat.

Some bouncers and swings are approved for use with bigger babies, so check the manufacturer's suggestions carefully. Make sure you check the weight and developmental guidelines that come with your bouncer or swing, to ensure that it's still safe for your child to use it.

Be sure that your child is always properly strapped in and supervised when placed in the swing or bouncer, to minimize the chances of injury. You'll likely find yourself using the swing most in the first few months of your baby's life.

Most have cushions that are easily removable and machine washable, to make cleaning a breeze.