- What Is It?
- AT What Age
- How Long Can a Baby Stay
What Is a Baby Jumper?
A baby jumper is a play device for babies which has a suspended seat that a baby can sit on and bounce by pushing the toes on the floor. The sling seat is attached to springs or rubber cables fixed to a doorframe or to a frame that’s part of the device itself, which can be placed on the floor.
The three commonly available types of baby jumpers are:
- Baby jumper with a sling-type seat attached with rubber harness to the doorframe.
- Baby jumper with the seat suspended from a stand with springs, usually covered in fabric. The seat is surrounded by a playpen with toys.
- A playpen that has toyed around the seat with springs placed beneath the seat.
Jumpers with stationary frames are relatively safer than the type that is attached to a doorframe in which the baby can swing and may hit against the doorframe.
What Age Can Babies Use a Jumper?
Babies should not be placed in a jumper until they have developed neck stability and head control. Most babies develop complete head control by the time they are five to six months old, so it is safe to use a jumper when the baby is six months old.
Babies should not continue to be put in jumpers once they are able to sit up on their own or they reach the maximum recommended weight for the jumper, which is usually 25 pounds.
How Long Can a Baby Stay in the Jumper?
Experts suggest that babies should not stay in a jumper for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time and have no more than two sessions in a day. The jumper seat keeps the baby’s hips in a position that can affect normal hip development. Studies report that walking is delayed in babies who regularly spend longer than 15 minutes in the jumper.
What Are the Benefits of a Jumper?
Any parent needs time off now and then to do a chore or just take a break, and jumpers are a great way to keep the baby entertained. Most babies enjoy bouncing in a jumper, which is a safe place to leave the baby for a few minutes, but moderation is the key.
Are Jumpers Bad for Babies?
Jumpers have great entertainment value for a short time period (15 to 20 minutes, twice per day)but are essentially not good for the baby’s normal skeletal and muscle development if used over longer times and/or more frequently. Imbalances in muscle development can lead to problems later in life. The risks of using baby jumpers include the following:
- Jumper seats put the baby’s hips in a position that causes strain, which may lead to developmental hip disorders, such as hip dysplasia, or dislocation.
- The way babies are seated in a jumper, they mostly lean forward and are on their toes. This leads to their calf muscles getting tight, while gluteus muscles don’t get enough exercise, which can lead to toe-walking later.
- Head injury is the most common injury that may occur with jumpers. Possible injury risks are:
- The baby hitting the doorframe, getting fingers pinched, or leaning over and falling out
- Mechanical failure in the device
- An older sibling playing and accidentally pushing the jumper
How Do You Use a Baby Jumper Safely?
Following are some pointers for the safe use of baby jumpers:
- Use a jumper only when the baby has complete head control and discontinue using it at the appropriate age.
- Make sure that the jumper is of good quality.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in assembling the jumper and setting the appropriate height for your baby.
- Check for damage regularly and replace worn-out straps.
- Make sure that the baby is properly secured in the jumper.
- Do not leave the baby unattended in the jumper.
- Do not use the jumper for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time and use it no more than twice a day.
- Educate older siblings to not push the jumper or play in it themselves.
What Are the Alternatives to Baby Jumpers?
A stationary activity center may be a good alternative to a jumper. The best alternative would be to allow the baby to play on the floor. Tummy time and lying on the sides help babies develop naturally, lets them explore their surroundings, and develop spatial awareness.
Benefits of floor play include the following:
- Helps the baby’s neck and back muscles become strong.
- There is no unnatural strain on the hips.
- The baby develops good core and leg strength needed for standing and walking.
- The baby is likely to crawl and walk earlier.
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