Bouncer-seat safety

Consumer Reports News: May 08, 2008 09:08 AM

Nearly 2,000 infants are injured each year in bouncer seats. Here’s how to protect your newborn from getting hurt:

Stick to the weight limit. Manufacturers suggest an upper seat weight limit, usually ranging from 18 to 30 pounds. Putting a child who is over the weight limit into the seat can make it prone to tipping.

Stop using a bouncer seat as soon as your baby can sit up unassisted if the bouncer is not designed to be used by toddlers (some are); check the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

Never use a bouncer seat as a car seat.

Put the seat on the floor. Never use it on an elevated surface, such as a table, where the baby’s movement could rock it to the edge, or on a soft surface, such as a bed, or sofa, pillow, or cushion. The seat may tip and soft surfaces are a suffocation hazard.

Don’t carry your baby while he’s in the bouncer, even if it has a carrying handle, and never use the toy bar as a handle.

Always keep a close eye on your baby, even if you think she’s completely safe and secure in the bouncer seat.

Make sure the bouncer you select doesn’t have any sharp edges.

Always secure your baby with the bouncer’s 3 or 5-point safety harness.

Don’t use a bouncer seat that’s damaged or broken.

Don’t park your baby in a bouncer. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies who spend excessive time in bouncers (and car seats) may be prone to positional plagiocephaly (also called flattened head syndrome), a persistent flat spot in the back or on one side of the head. The AAP doesn’t say how much is too much, so use your best judgment. No more than 30 minutes at a shot seems reasonable to us. Don’t substitute a bouncer seat for cuddle time.

See our full report on bouncer seats for features to consider, bouncer-seat safety, and Ratings (for subscribers).

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