A stationary activity center can keep your baby occupied and happy and give you a much-needed break. But you're not off the hook. Here's what you should do to help keep baby safe.
Keep an eye out. Even though a stationary activity center can give you a chance to grab a bite (without a baby in your lap), or check your e-mail, always keep your baby in view while he's in it.
Resist the urge to park your baby. Keeping your very young child in a stationary activity center for more than 30 minutes at a time can tax her naturally weak back and leg muscles.
Avoid walker mode. Some stationary activity centers convert to walk-behind walkers. Don't use it in walk-behind mode, because she can scoot away toward stairs, a hot stove, or other hazards.
Keep the activity center away from hot surfaces, dangling appliance cords, window-blind and curtain cords, stairs, sources of water such as a swimming pool, and anything else that might injure a child. Even though it is technically stationary, this play space can creep across the floor as your baby plays.
Watch for movement and make sure your baby stays away from hazards.
Don't carry an activity center with your child in it.
Place the product on level ground and make sure the legs are the same height. (The tray should be level.) That's the best way to avoid tip-overs.
Follow the manufacturer's age, weight, and height recommendations and keep the owner's manual for future reference. Don't use the activity center before your baby can sit up unassisted, and stop using it when your baby reaches the height or weight maximum and can walk or even stand up by himself, which means that he could easily tip it. And, as a general rule, if your child can tip over the activity center by just leaning over the edge, or can climb out of it, it's time to retire it.
Don't attach strings to the activity center or to its toys. They're a strangulation hazard.
Stop using a stationary activity center if it's damaged or broken.