For many parents of babies, a bouncer really can be a lifesaver, keeping the baby safely occupied, stimulated and practicing using their limbs in a protected environment while busy parents can get on with important tasks around the home, or just enjoy a bit of much needed downtime.
A bouncer is designed to assist and protect a baby who’s not yet able to sit fully independently or to keep an active and agile baby safe for a period of time, allowing some hands-free time for parents.
Many baby bouncers these days come with an additional vibrating mechanism and there has been plenty of debate about whether this is a safe optional extra or not. As with all subjects that revolve around protecting loved ones, there is fierce debate and polarizing of opinion, and at the end of the day, the choice should be down to you as long as you are armed with all the correct information to make the best purchasing decision.
In theory, the vibration mechanism can help soothe and relax an agitated, over tired or colicky baby, inducing them into a more relaxed and gentle state, perhaps even sending them to sleep. So far so good! Or is it?
As with everything, all equipment can have the potential to cause damage and harm if it’s not being used correctly or the safety instructions properly followed. So it’s best to have the full knowledge first about what potential dangers a vibrating baby seat could pose to your precious bouncing bundle of joy and how to correctly set up and use one.
Don’t ever skip on reading the instructions and checking that all the necessary parts are included when you unbox your vibrating bouncer.
In order to prevent any unwanted and potentially dangerous falls, you really do need to ensure that your vibrating bouncer is placed on a stable and flat surface, like a solid floor. With the addition of the vibration mechanism, more movement and momentum is going to be created so there is an increased chance that the chair could travel or tip over. Definitely do not ever place a vibrating bouncer on a bed or table for example, or for that matter, any high surface.
Not only might the bouncer topple over, but if you have it placed on a bed with lots of soft duvets and furnishings scattered around, you also run the risk of your baby suffocating if they land face down among the cushioning. So the number one rule to keep baby safe in your new vibrating bouncer is to prevent the potential for any falls by placing it on a solid flat floor.
Make sure you do your research and buy safe. Equipment can get broken from time to time, damaged in the factory, in transit or just from general wear and tear, so pay close attention to the setup and safety instructions, and be vigilant when using your bouncer seat to ensure that there are no broken parts or faults developing.
A vibrating seat by nature of its repetitive action will have an increased tendency to detach spontaneously, so make sure you buy quality and look for good reviews about durability. It should also go without saying but ensure that you purchase something that is fully certified too.
The other point to note with vibrating-style bouncers is that they will most likely be battery operated. You need to therefore ensure that your batteries are at all times securely confined to the compartment they fit into and that this is locked secure. Depending upon the size of the batteries that your specific model of bouncer takes, a loose battery could increase the chances of a baby choking.
Generally speaking because of this very reason, most responsible manufacturers will opt for installing larger AA batteries which should be too big for a small baby to actually swallow, but this is definitely worth checking out.
Besides the risk of choking, remember that batteries also contain acid so you don’t want one coming lose under any circumstances and your baby burning their mouth.Be vigilant, exercise common sense and do regular safety checks to ensure your bouncer remains in full working order.
Finally a point on sleep which is sometimes where the appeal of a vibration-style bouncer might tick your own personal requirements. Remember that a bouncer is going to put your baby in more of a seated position which, in a baby that still might be too young or weak to properly support their own head weight, might encourage them to slump forwards, especially if they do nod off.
That position can run the risk of constricting the airway and leading to suffocation, so keep a watchful eye on your baby and don’t put them in a bouncer unattended for any period of time until they have developed the necessary neck strength.