When Can Baby Use a Bouncer?

Baby Bouncer Seat Safety Tips

You enjoy lots of snuggles with your baby, but sometimes you just need a break from constantly rocking, playing and feeding. Baby bouncer seats give you a safe way to free up your hands while keeping your baby snug and safe. Your newborn can use a bouncer seat from the time you get home, but the safe length of time you can use the seat is limited.

What Is a Bouncer?

Tired baby in bouncy chair

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A bouncer is a freestanding seat that sits low to the ground. The soft, reclined seat has a sturdy frame that allows bouncing as your baby kicks. Many models have built-in soothing features like vibration, rocking, music and toy bars. Because the seats are small and lightweight, they're easy to move from room-to-room.

When Your Baby Can Use a Bouncer

Bouncers are safe for newborns, so you don't have to wait until your baby reaches a certain age to start using the seat. Read the recommendations on the packaging to learn about any restrictions or guidelines for use. The reclined position and seat design keep your baby secure, and safety straps offer additional security.

A more important decision is when to stop using the bouncer seat. You only want to use the seat until your baby starts to sit up without assistance. For most babies, that means the bouncer seat is safe from birth to about 6 months. If your baby reaches milestones early, you may need to pack away the bouncer seat sooner. Some babies can sit up on their own as early as 4 months.

Most bouncer seats have a maximum weight limit, so you can use your baby's weight as another guideline to determine when to stop using the seat. Most models have a weight limit of around 25 to 30 pounds.

If you use the bouncer seat after your baby starts sitting up on his own, he can tip the entire seat. If you notice that he tries to get out of the seat or sits up while using the bouncer, it's probably time to retire the seat.

Pros of Using a Bouncer

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You have lots of choices for baby gear. If money and space are limited, you want to choose the pieces that are most useful. Bouncer seats offer several pros for new parents, including:

  • Bouncer seats are relatively inexpensive compared to other baby gear. Even though the length of time you can use it is short, you don't have to invest a lot initially.
  • The seat gives you an option for safely putting your baby down during the day. It can give you a little freedom to get chores done around the house or simply have a little break.
  • They're portable because they're so light. You can easily pick up the seat and carry it to another room. Many are battery-operated, so you can use them anywhere, even without an outlet nearby.
  • You can find a wide range of options when it comes to the extra features to keep your baby entertained.
  • The wide base and low design make the bouncer seat stable, so your little one can sit in it safely.
  • Bouncer seats respond with movement when your baby kicks. That movement entertains and soothes your baby.

Choosing a Bouncer

A baby bouncer seems like a simple purchase, but you'll find lots of different designs and features to consider. Some things are a matter of safety. Others are nice extras that may give your baby a little more soothing. Buy a new bouncer seat with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association seal to increase the chance of getting a seat with the latest safety features. Older, used models could have been recalled at some point, so check first before using one.

Consider these features when buying a baby bouncer:

  • Wide, low, sturdy frame to prevent tipping
  • Harness to hold your baby in the seat
  • Removable cloth seat for easy cleaning
  • Padding and comfort features on the seat
  • Motion type, which may include rocking, vibrating or gliding
  • Toy bars, mobiles, music and other entertainment options.

The power source is another consideration. Battery-powered models are the most common, but some have a plug-in option to cut down on how many batteries you use.

Bouncer Safety Tips

Buying a safe bouncer seat is a good start, but the way you use that seat is also an important part of keeping your little one safe. Always put the seat on the floor, because the bouncing action can shift the seat and cause it to fall off a high surface. Keep the seat away from heat vents, windows, cords and other potential dangers. Don't move the seat with your baby in it.

Even though bouncer seats are relatively safe for babies, you should always supervise your little one while she's in the seat. Balance time in the seat with playtime on the floor, including tummy time. Being on the floor helps your baby develop muscles and learn how to crawl, sit and reach other milestones.