When I was pregnant I got a baby jumper that installs in a doorframe. I saw pictures of me as a little baby loving life in my Johnny Jump Up and my mom encouraged me- said it was great when she needed her hands free to make dinner. However, though they are convenient, baby jumpers aren’t that great for development, so it’s best to know all the safety and developmental concerns before using one with your little one. Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and Livestrong discuss the pros and cons. The American Academy of Pediatrics says simply to ‘Limit time spent in items that restrict movement (car seats, strollers, bouncy seat, etc)’. Here is the skinny.
Safety Concerns of Baby Jumpers
Installing Baby Jumper in the Doorframe
Be extra-vigilant when acquiring and installing your baby jumper in the door frame. Opt for one that is new, so you are sure the parts work correctly. Make sure it is adapted to the height and weight of your baby. When you install it follow and double-check the instructions. Give it a good tug before you put baby in it, making sure it can handle the weight and movements baby will make. The danger is, of course, that either the mechanism will fail or the construction of the door will be compromised, causing the baby to fall and/or sustain trauma from the mechanism falling on them.
Installing Baby in Baby Jumper
Getting baby installed is tricker than it looks. Particularly if you have a baby like my own, that likes to grab the straps and flail all her limbs in every direction. Easy does it. This is always the part that makes me nervous.
While Baby is Installed
Watch baby at all times. Make sure the area is clear around the baby. Environmental dangers include older siblings playing with baby, or pushing the baby into the doorframe. Big dogs may present the same problem. Baby may even propel themselves into the doorframe. Their leg movements are unpredictable when they’re so tiny.
Developmental Problems with Baby Jumpers
This type of jumping movement simply isn’t developmentally appropriate. It encourages babies to put all their weight on their tiptoes, hips, and spine, before they are ready. This may cause their bodies to develop in an asymmetrical way, resulting in delayed motor skill development, and delayed walking.
Plus, being suspended like this doesn’t encourage them to learn how to balance, which makes sense, how would they learn how to balance if they can’t practice it? We can buy all the gadgets on the market, but babies simply need time on the floor, moving freely, in order to learn the skills they will need to eventually crawl, walk and run.
Benefits of Baby Jumpers?
Baby Jumpers encourages babies to move, allowing them to burn off some energy. They won’t risk Flat Head Syndrome being upright like this, as that is something that only happens when babies are often confined to something in a resting position (a reclining baby chair, a stroller, or a rocker, for example). Though you must be very close to baby, you are allowed to have your hands free for a bit. Which, let’s be honest here, is invaluable, particularly if you’re the only adult in the house.
Baby Jumpers in Practice
To sum up, address safety and developmental concerns by making sure:
- the device is correctly installed,
- accommodates the weight/age/height of baby,
- the baby is correctly (and carefully) installed,
- baby doesn’t spend more than 15 minutes per day in it, and
- an adult is always within arms’ reach.
A baby jumper is good for those times when baby doesn’t want to be left alone in her crib, but you can’t have her underfoot. Showers, going to the bathroom, or cooking for example. You don’t want baby crawling around on the bathroom floor, or in the kitchen when you’re cooking, so baby jumpers are one solution for those moments.
How do you feel about baby jumpers? Would you use one?