A baby jumper is a suspended sling-style seat hanging from a spring and/or rubber cable that is clamped above a door or is suspended from the frame of the toy itself. The baby bounces in the seat by pushing their feet against the floor. The toy is used to allow babies to exercise, play, and jump.
Parents use jumpers to keep the baby playful and engaged. But are these baby jumpers safe? In this MomJunction post, we tell you about the different types of jumpers, their safety, risks, and alternatives.
Are Baby Jumpers Safe?
Research studies have shown that baby jumpers are not safe for infants. Instead, the use of stationary play stations is recommended (1).
Different Types Of Baby Jumpers
Most jumpers feature an attached spring or springs that facilitate the bouncing and jumping motion. The following are the common types of jumpers available in the market.
1. Baby jumper that attaches to a door frame
It is a hanging sling-style seat that is attached to the frame of the door through a spring or a rubber cable. When the baby’s feet touch and slightly push the floor, the jumper begins to bounce. This is considered to be the least safe of all types of jumpers.
2. Stationary baby jumper with springs suspended from frames
It contains a sling-style seat suspended from springs from the frame of the jumper. The baby pushes the feet to initiate the bouncing while the frame bears the movement. The springs are usually covered with fabric covers.
3. Baby jumper with springs beneath the seat
The baby jumper contains a spring attached beneath the seat instead of it being suspended from a spring above.
The second and the third variants are considered relatively safer than the first one due to their stationary nature. But, in general, all jumpers bring some risks with them and hence are not recommended for infants.
When Can You Put Your Baby In A Jumper?
Use the jumpers only after the baby gains better head control. Babies begin to develop initial head control by the time they are three months old. However, they gain complete head control only by the time they are five to six months old (2). So, basically use them when the baby is six months or so.
What Are The Risks Of Using A Baby Jumper?
Although the babies might enjoy it, jumpers may not be ideal for the following reasons (1).
- The fabric seat of the jumper puts the baby’s hips in an odd position, and hence it might cause unnecessary strain on the hip joint. This awkward position might even cause developmental disorders like hip dislocation in babies.
- The jumpers suspended from the door frame can move from side to side. This motion poses a risk of the baby colliding with the door frame. Incorrectly attached jumpers can detach from the frame and increase the risk of injuries by the baby falling down.
- Improper installation, improperly functioning of the parts, weak door frame, incorrect securing to the doorframe, etc., can all lead to mechanical failure.
- Head injuries are the most common injuries that might occur due to bouncers or jumpers. These injuries typically occur when the baby bounces too hard or leans and falls forward out of the jumper (3).
- Excessive time in jumpers makes the baby stand more on their toes, thereby leading to calf muscle tightness. The calf muscles become tense. Studies have reported delayed walking in babies who regularly spend 15 minutes or longer in the jumper.
- Babies might also accidentally pinch their fingers between the springs, chains, or the frame of the jumper.
- The jumper might break if the baby’s weight is more than the maximum permissible weight limit. It can cause severe head injuries, spinal injuries, or injuries to limbs, etc.
- Elder siblings in the house might push the jumper hard or try to climb along with the baby, thus causing the risk of the jumper breaking apart.
If you still want to use a jumper occasionally, wait until the baby is six months old and take safety measures.
Tips For Safe Use Of A Baby Jumper
If your baby loves the jumper, then the following tips can help you limit the associated risks and dangers (4).
- Use the baby jumper only after your baby has developed optimal head support i.e., six months. Some babies can take longer than others.
- Use a good quality branded baby jumper only. Make sure the jumper is strong.
- Select a door frame that is sturdy enough to take the weight of the jumper and the baby.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully while installing the baby jumper.
- Do regular safety checks of the jumper.
- Fit the baby snugly into the jumper and fix all the straps well so that the baby does not fall out while jumping.
- Do not let the baby jump in it for more than 15 minutes a day.
- Keep a close eye on the baby while they are in the jumper. Do not leave the child unattended.
- Educate the baby’s elder siblings not to push the jumper or use it themselves.
- Promptly replace any worn-out or damaged straps of the jumper.
- Cover the exposed chains and springs with a fabric cover to prevent the baby’s finger from getting pinched.
- Adjust the jumper in a way that the baby’s feet touch the ground even when they are not jumping in the jumper.
- When not in use, remove the jumper from the door frame.
What Are The Alternatives To Baby Jumpers?
- It helps strengthen baby’s neck and back muscles.
- A baby might learn to crawl faster.
- They might learn to use their limbs better.
- It might help develop better trunk and leg support.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can baby jumpers cause brain damage?
Jumpers do not cause brain damage, but it can make the baby prone to a fall, which increases the risk of head injuries. Severe head injuries may lead to brain damage.
2. When should a baby stop using a jumper?
The baby should stop using a jumper when they outgrow the maximum permissible weight limit of the jumper.
3. Is a walker or jumper better for a baby?
Therefore, instead of jumpers or walkers, use a stationary activity center.
Jumpers are a commonly available toy. While babies might find them fun, they come with their share of risks and drawbacks. If you are using a jumper for your baby, then it is better to take all the necessary precautions regarding its installation and use. If your child experiences any fall from the jumper, take them to a doctor.
Do you have any experience of using a jumper for your baby? Let us know in the comment section below.
2. Infant – newborn development; U.S. National Library of Medicine
3. Suspended baby jumpers; Government of Canada
4. Baby exercise jumpers; AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION & CONSUMER COMMISSION
5. Tummy time; American Academy of Pediatrics
6. Movement: 8 to 12 months; Healthy Children Organization
7. Baby Walkers: A Dangerous Choice; American Academy of Pediatrics