Baby jumpers can be a great tool to keep your baby entertained and happy, freeing up your hands for other tasks while they get their energy out. But when is the right age for them to start jumping and how long should they do it for?
Shopping for a Baby Jumper
Things to look for. The amount of baby gear out there can be overwhelming for parents. There are so many products out there, each boasting its own claims of both brain stimulation and safety. What are the most important things to look for?
The baby gear you choose shouldn’t put any pressure on your baby’s spine. Your baby is developing every minute and playtime is no exception.
Any jumper, also known as a bouncer, should keep your baby’s legs in a natural, relaxed position. Jumpers that keep the legs open can put pressure on their hips and can cause problems in hip development.
Check with the manufacturer to make sure the jumper size is right for your baby. If the jumper is suspended from a door frame, make sure it fits your doorframe properly.
Sometimes baby gear like jumpers can come second-hand. Do your due diligence and inspect all parts of the jumper. Be certain it’s in safe and working condition before you place your little one inside.
What Age Can Your Baby Start Jumping?
It depends. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about the exact time your baby can use a jumper. Every child is different and develops at a different rate. Generally, your baby can start using the jumper when they can hold their head up strongly and independently.
When to stop. Most manufacturers give their jumpers a weight limit of 25 to 30 lbs, or until your baby can walk. The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission says it's safe to use jumpers/bouncers until any of these happen: your baby reaches 5 months of age, starts to roll over, or wants to pull themselves up using the sides of the toy.
How long to play? It can be tempting to leave your bouncing baby in the jumper while you do a quick workout or some chores. Most experts recommend leaving your baby in their jumper for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time, no more than twice a day.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies who spend too much time in confining gear like car seats, strollers, swings, and bouncy seats can experience delayed motor development.
Free baby gym. The best place for your baby to use their muscles is free! It's on the floor. When your baby is on the floor, they can use their muscles without assistance to move and get stronger. Baby gear can keep them busy for a while, but it doesn’t require their muscles to work as hard. This means they miss out on opportunities to gain strength and coordination.
Stationary is best. Baby jumpers are designed to keep your little one entertained and happy. But the opposite can happen if they have an accident while jumping. A baby that gets too excited can swing into a door frame, resulting in a nasty bump on their head. Using a stationary jumper that stays in one place over a suspended, door frame unit is best.
Babies’ heads are big in proportion to their bodies, and their necks aren’t quite that strong yet. Head injuries when using a door frame jumper are common. Simply swinging too hard can also cause injury to their necks. Using a stationary jumper is safer. It also offers the added convenience of placing it wherever you want, not just a doorframe.
Safety first. Check out these pointers for how to safely install and use a baby jumper:
- Read instructions carefully and install the jumper accordingly.
- Make sure you have a sturdy door frame available so that the clamp attaching the jumper to the frame is secure.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions to see if your door frame meets the specifications.
- Supervise your baby as they jump.
- Take them with you if you need to leave the room.
- Adjust the jumper so that your baby’s toes are touching the floor when they’re in the seat.
Make sure to have fun while your baby is jumping. Turn on some happy music, get out their favorite toys, and join in the fun. Bounce, baby, bounce!