Baby swings can soothe parents as much as they soothe their little ones by providing a comforting environment when parents with jangled nerves have run out of ideas to get a baby to sleep. Today’s models offer parents a variety of options to choose from. From traditional hand-wound swings that lull baby to sleep to full-activity centers, there’s a swing to suit just about every need and every budget. Some manufacturers have even based their designs on how the human body moves when it holds and rocks a baby. How to choose one which one works for you and your baby? Let Pronto’s Baby Swing Buying Guide help you decide.
Look for five-point harnesses that restrain your child at the shoulders, hips and crotch to prevent your child from slipping in the seat. Make sure your baby swing has a wide base that’s tip resistant. If you’re buying for a newborn, look for an infant recline seat that adjust to upright as baby grows. Canopies protect babies from sun when using swings outdoors. Buy new, not used.
Baby swings are powered either by hand (wind up) or battery. Battery-powered models are easier to operate, but battery replacement adds to the baby swing’s cost over time. Purchase (or include in your gift registry) a battery recharger when you purchase the baby swing.
As your child grows, their increased weight affects how the baby swing swings. Look for swings with a variety of speeds to adjust to your growing child. When it comes to sound, models that feature volume knobs versus two static settings allow optimum control based on baby’s mood.
Many manufacturers also make take-along versions of their most popular baby swings. If you’ll be traveling a lot, using your baby swing in the yard or simply moving from room to room at home, consider these easy-to-tote swings.
Many baby swings also function as activity centers and feature mobiles, baby- or parent-activated lights in addition to their sound and music capabilities.
Harnesses that attach at both shoulders, both hips and at the crotch for a total of five attachment points. Not all seats feature the 5-point harness; some only feature 3 attachment points. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend 5-point harnesses as the safest way to restrain a baby in a moving device or vehicle.
A swing feature designed for infants that supports their heads and necks until they’ve developed the strength to sit and hold them up on their own.
A swing’s ability to swing at different speeds, depending upon baby’s mood and size. As babies grow, their weight affects the speed of the swing. Variable speeds allows you to maintain a speed your child likes as he/she grows.
As with all purchased for your child, safety and comfort are top concerns when purchasing a baby swing. When can you put your baby in a swing? Check with your doctor when your baby reaches 6-8 weeks. Babies typically outgrow baby swings between the ages of 4-6 months when their weight approached 25lbs, which is the maximum most baby swings can hold safely. Be sure the baby swing you choose has a wide base and low center of gravity to guard against tipping when baby moves. Just like car seats and strollers, you’ll want a baby swing that features a five-point or three-point harness, though it’s best to limit your options to swings with five-point harnesses.
The five-point harness utilizes a hip restraints to stabilize infants and prevent them from sliding down in the swing’s seat. This feature is great because hip restraint prevents sleeping a babies from moving too much. If you’re considering purchasing a swing for your newborn, you’ll need one that features an infant recline that supports their head and neck but can convert to an upright position as they grow stronger. However, you’ll still use therecline feature when your older baby is sleepy so they can nap in the swing. Lastly, two features you’ll want to look for: fold-up trays that allow you to remove your child from the baby swing without hitting their legs or head on the swing’s bars (or waking them if they’re sleeping) and canopies to protect their delicate skin from sun when using the swing outdoors.
Is battery-powered better than the traditional wind-up baby swing? We think it comes down to a matter of preference. Like any battery-powered device, replacement batteries and/or battery rechargers add to the cost of the swing over time. However, you may find battery-powered swings to be more convenient to operate daily (no need to stop what you’re doing to re-wind the swing) than wind-up swings. If your intention is for baby to do a lot of napping in the swing, the noise from re-winding it may disrupt the quiet time you’re trying to create. Other advantages to battery-powered baby swings include additional speed settings, music and other soothing, ambient noises. For those who can’t stand the thought of one more task to keep up with, there are a few models that feature AC Power, such as Fisher Price Power Plus Plug In Swing, that can run on batteries for portability but can easily be switched to run on outlet power.
No two babies are alike and sometimes, the same baby is completely different one day to the next. Today they may respond to being rocked slowly, but next week, they might prefer more active movement. Your best bet is to look for swings that offer a variety of speeds to please baby’s every mood. Some models, like Pronto’s Pick—the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Cradle Swing—offer different rocking patterns (front to back and side to side). As your baby grows, you might also find that you need to adjust the baby swing’s speed to work with their larger frame/weight. If having a swing that grows with your child is important to you, look for models with multiple speed settings
Just like the benefits of multiple swing speeds, multiple music choices can make for a better swing. Just like adults, your baby will like different music over time. Many models come with a variety of different sounds choices, so with some experimentation you should find one the lullaby that does the trick.
Look for volume knobs that control the overall sound level versus baby swings that come with only two fixed settings. You should also have the option to mute the chair, as some babies may do best with pure quiet.
Will you be traveling frequently and need to take your swing with you? Even if you’ll just want to use your baby swing in the yard, you’ll want to look for models that are light in weight without sacrificing stability. If you live in tight quarters or if storage is an issue, you may want to consider models that fold up easily and compactly. Most manufacturers make take-along versions of their swings, which make moving them anywhere—even just from room to room—easy and effortless.
Chances are you get cranky when you’re bored and so do babies. Baby swings are designed to soothe, but they can also serve as entertaining activity centers. Baby swings may come with simple toy trays attached to the front of the swing while others include colorful mobiles, mirrors, lights, music and other interactive toys or features. If you’re interested in baby swings that offer these options, be sure the pieces are solid, smooth, large and not easily detached.
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