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Baby jumpers

Baby jumper buying guide

Last updated: April 2014
Getting started

Getting started

If you want to add some bounce to your pre-walking baby's playtime, you have a few options. The safest alternative is to buy a stationary activity center that includes springs in the support posts. Another good choice is a stationary activity jumper, which suspends an enclosed seat from two to four covered springs.

The third option is one we consider to be unsafe: doorway jumpers that suspend a seat from straps attached to an overhead bungee-like cable or spring attached to a door frame. At least one doorway jumper model is available with its own frame, but we don't consider this option to be safe either.

The problem with door-frame jumpers is that the jumper's straps or clamps can break, allowing the apparatus to fall. Also, babies can bump into the sides of the door frame, either through vigorous jumping or when someone tries to swing them. It's easy to envision a family dog crashing into the jumper as well. Doorway jumpers have been recalled because the plastic clamp that attaches the seat to a door frame has broken, causing babies to fall. There have also been recalls because clamps detached from the cord.

Recommendations

As mentioned, your safest option is a stationary activity center, with springs in the legs. True, activity centers with this feature provide less bounce than jumpers with suspended seats. But how much bouncing does your baby really need? Some little ones actually get "seasick" from the motion. Keep in mind, too, that no type of jumper will accelerate your baby's physical development. Even though babies in jumpers push off the floor, the movement doesn't do much to strengthen their thigh and back muscles, which are critical to crawling and walking. Follow our jumper safety strategies and stop using the product when your baby can walk, reaches the product's height and weight maximums, or tries to climb out.

Consumer Reports has not tested any type of jumper.

Types

Stationary activity centers, stationary activity jumpers, and doorway jumpers require babies to sit upright. Weight and height maximums vary, so check the owner's manual. To use one, your baby must be able to hold her head up unassisted (around 6 months of age) but not be able to climb out of the product or walk.

Stationary activity centers


Stationary activity centers are the safest way for your baby to sit up and enjoy the world around her. Looking for some bounce? Get one with springs in the support posts, or a springy pad for a baby's feet. For another way to get baby dancing, if not bouncing, check out a model with a keyboard (or other instrument) or a microphone.

Stationary activity jumpers


Stationary activity jumpers are a hybrid. They consist of a seat surrounded by toys, but they put more "boing!" in your baby's bounce by suspending the seat from two to four enclosed springs.

Some models have dozens of "fun learning activities" built in.

Doorway jumpers

These are models with a seat suspended from straps connected to a bungee-like cable or spring that attaches to the top of a door frame with a spring-loaded clamp or a stand to replace the door clamp.

Some doorway jumpers feature a fabric seat with a built-in frame that surrounds a child. Others have a play tray that encircles the baby, with rubberized sides that act as bumpers. These bumpers might prevent nicks to your door frame, but we don't think they offer much protection to your baby, who can extend his head or arm beyond the tray.

Again, regardless of the seat design or whether the jumper is attached to a door frame or a stand, we urge you not to buy one that is suspended overhead. Your baby could be propelled into the door frame or stand either because of vigorous jumping or because someone tries to swing him. Doorway jumpers have been recalled because the plastic clamp that attaches the seat to a door frame has broken, causing babies to fall. There have also been recalls because clamps detached from the cord. The risks to your baby's safety are simply too high.

We think using a stationary model with side cables attached to a sturdy stand is much safer than hanging a free-swinging jumper from a doorway or stand. This configuration eliminates the potential hazard of a doorway jumper clamp slipping off the door frame. Stationary activity jumpers typically accommodate babies up to 25 pounds and 30 to 32 inches, depending on the model. And, of course, a stationary activity center with springs in the support posts is the safest way to add some bounce to your baby's fun.

Features


Some jumpers have bells and whistles or lights and music; others don't. Here are the jumper features to consider.

Seat


Seats differ in comfort and adjustability. Some stationary jumpers have up to six height adjustments to grow with your baby. Most doorway and stationary activity jumpers have a removable, washable seat. A plush seat is a plus.

Spring covers


On stationary activity jumpers that have a seat attached to a frame with springs, look for covers on the springs to keep your little one's fingers from being pinched.

Toys


Some stationary jumpers and activity centers have a relatively basic array of toys. Manufacturers including Evenflo sell additional toys that fit on their trays. Some have electronic toys with sounds and lights. When it comes to toys, the possibilities seem endless. Before you get carried away, ask yourself just how many toys a young baby can focus on!

Foldability


Some stationary activity jumpers can be folded for storage, to move from room to room, or to take to Grandma and Grandpa's.

Jumper safety tips

If you decide to use a jumper, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Any jumper

  • The most important one is not to use a jumper that suspends the seat from a single overhead cable, whether that cable clamps to a door frame or attaches to a stand.
  • Don't use a jumper near stairs, pools, hot surfaces, or other areas that may be hazardous to a child.
  • Always keep an eye on your child when she's in a jumper.
  • Keep a close eye out for trouble, and don't leave the room while your child is jumping.
  • Don't attach toys with strings to a jumper because they're strangulation hazards.
  • Stop using a jumper when your baby reaches the height and/or weight limits or when your child can walk unassisted or climb out of it.
  • Don't use a jumper that's damaged or broken.
  • Use caution when buying a used jumper by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website (www.cpsc.gov). Recalled products that are dangerous for your baby may be available at tag sales and secondhand shops. Even if a jumper you're considering hasn't been recalled, make sure that all parts work and are not worn.
  • Always place the jumper on a flat, level indoor surface.
  • Never move the unit while your child is in the seat.

Doorway jumpers, in particular

Again, we don't think doorway jumpers are a safe alternative for your child. But if you insist on buying one, follow these rules:

  • Make sure your door molding meets the jumper's specifications. Not all door frames can adequately support a doorway jumper with a spring-loaded clamp.
  • Adjust the jumper to the proper height; typically, just your child's toes should touch the floor.
  • Inspect the jumper every time you put your baby inside to be sure the straps are securely fastened. Tug on the clamp and the straps before your child gets in to make sure they will hold.
  • Always keep an eye on your child when he's in the jumper.
  • Take the jumper down as soon as your baby is done using it. Don't leave it in a doorway when it's not in use.
  • Never push a jumper as if it were a swing (or let others do it). Even though swinging in the house sounds like fun, it can cause your baby to strike the side of the doorway. Jumpers are not a good choice in a household with more than one child.
  • If you own a dog, make sure it is not in the room when your child is in the jumper. A dog can run through the doorway and knock your child into the door frame.
  • Limit jumping time to 15 minutes at most so your baby doesn't become nauseous. To prevent your baby from spitting up, it's best to use a doorway jumper before meals and snacks, not after.
   

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