Virtually all baby jumpers have a huge clamp designed to latch securely over standard door frames. If you have standard door frames in your house, you should be able to hang just about any doorway jumper in a matter of minutes, and this article explains exactly how.
For safety reasons, it’s necessary that you clamp your doorway jumper to a door frame that has at least 0.5-inch wide molding. The molding provides a ledge upon which the clamp can rest, preventing it from sliding farther and farther down with each jump your baby makes with the help of the jumper.
But be careful because molding wider than 0.5 inches isn’t necessarily more secure. If your door frame is too thick because of wide molding, the clamp that’s supposed to hold your doorway jumper above ground might not close properly, which could cause it, along with the jumper and your baby, to fall onto the ground.
Also keep in mind that not all molding is, unfortunately, equally strong. Unless you’ve installed your doorway molding yourself, make sure to triple-check whether it can really support the weight of your baby along with the weight of the bouncer itself. When testing the sturdiness of the molding, don’t be afraid to overdo it and use much more weight than what your baby actually weighs. This will account for the extra force generated by jumping and also for any hidden weaknesses.
Before you’re ready to install the spring-loaded clamp, you must first clip the top of the spring assembly to the clamp. This is done most easily with the seat flat on the floor. After you’ve connected the seat to the springs, you can lift the whole jumper up and ask your partner or other family member or friend to install the spring-loaded clamp above your doorway molding. The clamp should be directly in the center of the doorway to prevent your baby from hitting either the left or the right side of the doorframe with his or her fragile, delicate arms or legs.
What if I don’t have a suitable doorframe?
Many parents receive a doorframe jumper as a hand-me-down gift, but they quickly find out that they don’t have any suitable doorframe where they could hang it. What can be done in a situation like that? A lot, actually, depending on how skilled you are.
For example, Richard Popovic from Apartment Therapy wrote an amazing tutorial on how to hang just about any doorway jumper using a swing hook rated for vertical loads and a load-rated carabiner. The gist is that you first need to remove the clamp from your jumper by slipping it off the carabiner. Then, locate a joist using a stud finder and made a mark in the middle. Using a piece of tape to serve as a depth gauge, drill a hole into the joist and screw the load-rated hook into the joist. If you don’t have enough strength to screw the hook all the way in using your bare hands, grab a long screwdriver for some extra leverage. Attach your doorway jumper to the hook using the carabiner and adjust its heights according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
“Carabiners and webbing can be found at EMS, REI or any similar local stores that carry rock climbing gear. Suitable materials can also be found at any hardware/building supply store--just be sure to verify the load limits for weight. I used climbing gear because I had it at hand, and I know it is rated far beyond what I need it for in this situation,” Popovic wrote.
If you don’t have the necessary hardware but are an avid woodworker with heaps of lumber just lying everywhere, you may also consider screwing a piece of pressure-treated lumber from each side of the joist, provided that the sides are freely accessible. If you use long screws and hardwood, the two ledges created by the two pieces of lumber will be even more sturdy than typical trimming.
How high above the floor should I hang my doorway jumper?
It’s absolutely critical for various health-related reasons that you install your doorway jumper so that it’s just the right height above the floor. The good news is that determining the correct height is as easy as it can be. You simply place your baby in the jumper and look at his or her feet. If you see that your baby can’t reach the floor even with his or her toes, you need to lower the seat so that your baby can reach the floor with the tip of his or her feet. If your baby can reach the floor with the entire length of his feet, increase the height of the seat just ever so slightly so that your baby reaches the floor only with his or her toes.
A properly adjusted doorway jumper allows your baby to practice jumping in a safe and controlled manner. Similarly, a properly installed jumper guarantees maximum safety for your baby, giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve done what you could to prevent jumper-related injuries and accidents.
Won’t the clamp damage my trimming?
A properly installed doorway jumper shouldn’t cause any damage to your trimming. Many manufacturers even include plastic clamp protectors for extra protection against scratches. If you don’t believe that the clamp won’t scratch your trimming even with plastic protectors, considering wrapping a thin foam around the ends of the clamp using duct tape. Just make sure not to put so much padding around the clamp that it wouldn’t hold properly anymore. Your baby’s safety is more important than some scratched paint.