Stationary activity centers: Safer than doorway jumpers

Consumer Reports News: March 10, 2009 04:28 PM

In case you've never seen one, a doorway jumper is a seat connected to a bungee-like cable or cables that attach to the top of a doorframe with a spring-loaded clamp. Pre-walking babies can jiggle themselves up and down when they push off the floor. It's a cheap thrill that can delight active babies—and help them burn off steam, priming them for their morning or afternoon nap.

Yet others may actually get "seasick" from the motion. Another major downside: A doorway jumper's straps or clamps can break, allowing the apparatus to fall. Also, babies can bump into the sides of the doorframe, either because vigorous jumping causes them to bob around or because a sibling tries to swing them.

Doorway jumpers have been recalled because the plastic clamp that attaches the jumper seat to a door frame has broken, allowing babies to fall to the floor. At least 14,000 units were recalled for that reason in 2005. There have also been recalls because clamps detached from the cord. For these reasons, consider doorway jumping an extreme sport for your baby. (See our safety blog for more product safety and recall posts.)

We think there are plenty of other, safer alternatives to help your baby work off energy and enjoy playtime, including a stationary activity jumper. Some models look much like a stationary activity center, but with a springier seat and a raised platform for a little lift off. Others have a seat attached to a stationary stand with enclosed springs. Like a doorway jumper, stationary activity jumpers require babies to sit upright. (See our activity center safety tips.)

Stationary activity jumpers typically accommodate babies up to 25 pounds and 30 to 32 inches, depending on the model. Weight and height maximums vary, so check your owner's manual. To use one, your baby must be able to hold her head upright unassisted, but not be able to climb out of the product or walk.

See our related report on Baby shower ideas: What to avoid for more information.

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