If you ask just about any new parent what baby essentials he or she uses every day, one of the items you'll probably hear about baby swings. Although your child will outgrow a swing quickly, it can be a lifesaver for those first few months of baby's life.
Why Use Baby Swings?
Most babies love a soft, swaying movement. It is comforting to them, and it probably feels similar to the gentle rocking they felt while in mommy's tummy. Sometimes when nothing else will seem to soothe your baby, a swing can do the trick, giving you some much needed down time or time to do a few chores. Some infants will simply not sleep unless they are kept in perpetual motion, which can be exhausting to mom or dad. While of course a swing isn't a substitute for the comfort of a parent's arms, it can serve the purpose for a little while when mommy or daddy needs a break.
How Old Should My Baby Be to Safely Use the Swing?
This will depend some on your baby. Swings are perfect for newborns. You may want to prop rolled up blankets or set a small headguard around baby's head to keep him upright, but you won't have to worry too much about him trying to get out of the swing. As your baby grows, however, you'll need to keep a close watch on her. As she becomes more mobile, she may tip forward in the swing, and she could possibly fall out. Once she is starting to sit up, she may not like being confined in a swing, and you may have more reason to worry about her falling out.
What Type of Swing Should I Buy?
Things have changed quite a bit in the last decade or so. In the past, swings had to be wound up repeatedly, often startling a sleeping baby in the process. It was also difficult to get baby in and out of the swing without risking a bump on his head. Baby swing designers got a lot smarter, however, and swings are much easier to use today.
Most baby swings are battery operated. Sure, you may have to change out batteries on a regular basis, but just keep plenty on hand, and you won't have to worry about it. Many swings no longer have the rail across the top, eliminating the accidental bumping of your little one's noggin.
Some features are purely optional, while others are important. Consider these points before purchasing a swing.
- Does it have a tray across the front of the swing?
- Does it have colorful toys attached to the tray or the swing to capture baby's attention?
- Is it made of sturdy construction?
- Does it have variable speeds?
- Does it play music, and if so, can the volume be adjusted?
- Does it have a reliable restraining system?
- Does it have a removable or washable seat cover?
- Does it have an adjustable, reclining seat?
What Are Some Safety Issues?
There are several safety issues you should consider before you place your baby into a swing.
- Although baby swings are great timesavers for harried parents, a baby should never be left unattended in one no matter what age he might be.
- It is also important that you always fasten your baby into the swing using the safety straps.
- Use caution when adjusting the speed of the swing. You should adjust the speed to correspond with your baby's weight.
- The base of the swing should be wide enough to prevent baby and swing from tipping over if he were too lean to far to one side.
- It is always a good idea to check for product recalls before purchasing a used swing. You can do this by calling the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 or logging on to its website at Product Safety