Most doorway jumpers accommodate babies up to 28 pounds, starting from when they can hold their head up unassisted. Bungee-style cords or springs suspend the seat from a clamp so pre-walking babies can move 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 while many infants enjoy jumpers, others 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 door frame, 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. There have also been recalls because clamps detached from the cord.
Buy a stationary activity jumper instead of a doorway jumper. No amount of supervision can keep an infant from crashing to the floor if the doorway clamp fails, or from hitting the side of a doorway or the stand if suspended from above. These things may happen no matter how many times your baby has used the jumper successfully in the past. Look for a jumper with a low stand that suspends the seat from four corners rather than one that suspends the seat from one overhead cable. You'll also find quality differences in the construction of the springs, suspension cords, supports, and seat.
A stationary activity jumper is a safer bet, but don't buy one thinking that your baby will shoot ahead in terms of physical development. Even though babies are pushing off the floor, the springy nature of these "exercisers" doesn't do much to strengthen their thigh and back muscles, which are critical to crawling and walking. Follow our safety strategies and stop using the product when your baby can walk, reaches the height and weight maximums, or tries to climb out, whichever comes first.
Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.