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Gliders: How to choose a glider and ottoman for the nursery

Consumer Reports News: April 13, 2009 05:12 PM

Gliders are more comfortable than an old-fashioned rocking chair and you’ll use one more than you think, especially in your baby’s first year. Still, at $130 to $2,600, a glider can feel like a splurge, especially at the high end.

You may be tempted to do without but if you’re having a baby shower, why not put it on your wish list? It’s an expensive item, but friends and family may chip in as a group to buy it for you. “Our nursery was furnished by five people,” says Danamarie DeRiggi, a new mom from Atlanta. “One set of friends bought the crib. My family bought the rest of the pieces for the nursery, including the glider.”

What to look for: Glider guidelines

  • A comfy seat. When you’re testing models for your wish list, sit in the chair and glide away. That’s the best way to tell if a chair’s seat fits you comfortably. Have your spouse try it out too if both of you will be using it. Get a glider with a generously wide seat and arms that won’t hem you in. Both these features are especially important if you plan to use a nursing pillow. And with a baby on board, you’ll need the room.

  • Dark-colored cushions. Stay away from natural beige or pastel fabrics. Furniture fabric can appear soiled from normal wear and tear. And, of course, washable fabrics are a plus.

  • A locking mechanism. Look for a glider that locks in place or that has a base that’s constructed to hide the gliding mechanism. You don’t want to be gliding when you’re feeding your newborn if you also have a curious toddler underfoot; little fingers can get caught in the gliding mechanism. You’ll also want to lock it to keep your toddler (your baby--soon enough!) safe if he should happen to “play” with the glider when you’ve turned your back. 

  • Springs under the seat. “You want to make sure the fabric underneath the seat cushion has springs attached to it,” says Seth Berger, director of operations of Kids Home Furnishings, a baby-to-teen furniture store in Stamford, Conn. You may find four small springs that secure a bottom piece of fabric to the chair frame. That’s good. The underbelly of the seat shouldn’t be just fabric glued to a frame. You won’t have much support or shock absorption.

  • A warranty. If you choose a glider, you’ll want to know if the bearings, which run the gliding mechanism, have a warranty. They get a lot of wear over time. With gliders, ten years is a good warranty length, although a lifetime warranty is better.

For more information, see our tips for preparing baby formula and breast milk safely.

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