Many parents wonder when is the best time to put a baby in a jumper, and they are sometimes also not convinced that baby jumpers are entirely safe, often after reading various online articles that claim that baby jumpers can slow down babies’ development. After reading this article, you will know answers to both of these questions, and you will also know how to make the most out of the baby jumpers on the market.
When is the right time to put my baby in a jumper?
There is actually no age requirement for the use of baby jumpers. The only requirement is that the baby has enough neck and trunk strength to sit upright in the jumper and support his or her head without any assistance. Some babies manage to do that when they are just 3 months old, while other babies take a few weeks longer.
Many parents either purchase a baby jumper ahead in anticipation, or they receive one as a gift. The same parents often find it difficult to patiently wait until their baby is old enough to use the jumper. But patience is the key to baby jumper safety, and forcing a baby who’s not yet ready to use a bouncer to use it anyway is hugely irresponsible and must be avoided at all cost.
You must also realize that not all babies like baby jumpers. Indeed, some babies downright despise them and will cry whenever they are placed into one. As much as some parents may be disappointed by this, there’s nothing that can be done about it.
Forcing a baby who doesn’t like using a baby jumper to use one anyone is a horrible idea, and the period during which babies can use baby jumpers is so short that it doesn’t even make sense to try to show a baby how fun baby jumpers can be.
Is it a good idea to put my baby in a jumper at all?
A lot of negative things have been said about baby jumpers and how they affect babies’ health. “Concerns have arisen regarding the safety of these devices. Injuries have been reported related to the device itself such as pinching fingers and toes in device hardware and injuries caused because the child is more mobile. Increased mobility in these devices has led to burns when a child can maneuver close to a hot stove, poisonings when a child can bring themselves closer to cabinet sinks and other storage areas, and falls downstairs when a child gets too close to the edge (AAP 2001). Mandatory standards that were implemented in 1971 addressed the incidence of pinch injuries and, as a result, those injuries have decreased. Voluntary standards to address tip-overs and falls were implemented in 1996. Thus, these injuries have decreased also,” writes the Georgetown University Early Intervention Professional Development Center.
As you can see, when proper safety standards are required, the number of baby jumper-related issues goes down, and that’s only one part of the larger safety equation. What matters just as much as baby jumper safety standards is how safety-conscientious parents are. When parents adhere to basic baby jumper safety guidelines, jumpers can be used just as safely as other toys for small children.
Children’s Therapy and Family Resource Centre states that the following infants should not be placed in a baby jumper:
- Premature infants.
- Infants who put weight only on their toes.
- Infants who are “floppy.”
- Infants who are “stiff.”
- Infants with a developmental delay, i.e., cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, etc., without the direction of a physical or occupational therapist.
- Infants with hip dysplasia (dislocated or subluxated hips), clubfoot or any other orthopedic condition.
Baby Einstein, a popular manufacturer of baby jumpers and other infant entertainment and developmental products includes the following safety instructions with every baby jumper they sell:
- Use the door jumper only if the child meets ALL of the following conditions:
- Can sit up by himself or herself (approximately six months of age)
- Weighs less than 26 lbs (12 kg).
- Only use the product on a recommended interior door frame.
- Ensure that the product is properly secured in the center of the door frame before each use.
- Only use for a wall thickness between 4 - 5” (10.2 - 12.7 cm) and with a trim thickness of at least .5” (13 mm).
- Do not secure to the door trim.
- Never leave the child unattended. Always keep the child in view while in the door jumper.
- Ensure that the child is correctly and safely positioned in the door jumper.
- Allow the child to use the door jumper only for short periods of time (20-minute intervals).
- Do not use the product as a swing.
- Ensure that door cannot close on the door jumper.
- It can be dangerous to allow other children to play near the door jumper.
- Do not add additional strings or straps to the product.
- Strings can cause strangulation! DO NOT place items with a string around child’s neck such as hood strings or pacifier cords. DO NOT suspend strings over the product or attach strings to toys.
By adhering to these instructions, you can be certain that your baby will be perfectly safe every time you put him or her in a jumper.
How do I put my baby in a jumper so that he/she is comfortable?
To ensure maximum comfort for your baby, you need to adjust the seat height so that only your baby’s toes are in contact with the floor. You can tell that the seat is too high when your baby can’t reach the floor at all, and you can tell that the seat is too low when your baby’s entire feet are touching the floor.
Also, keep in mind that not all baby jumpers have the same leg hole width, and no two babies are exactly the same. Some manufacturers sell differently sized seats, which is perfect if you know that your baby is larger or smaller than most of his or her peers.