Unlike bouncy seats or baby swings, baby jumpers allow your little one to use his leg power to move around while standing upright. Three to six months is the typical age when babies can hold their head up alone for 10-20 minutes, so parents should wait for this milestone before using a jumper. Your baby's physical abilities, as well as the space you have for a jumper, determine which type of jumper is best for you.
This style features one large bungee cord you suspend from a door frame with a latching system. The cord attaches to a fabric seat where your baby sits. Door jumpers must be hung from a sturdy door frame and allow baby the opportunity to jump up and down and move from side to side without restriction.
These kinds of jumpers have a simple installation, are easy to move and take up very little space. However, you have to have the right kind of door frame to attach the jumper properly. Also, there is the potential for injury since your baby can move in all directions.
Evenflo Door Jumper
If you're looking for an inexpensive, easy to install option, the Exersaucer Door Jumper (Johnny Jump Up) by Evenflo is a great doorway jumper. This jumper can be found at Walmart for under $20. It features a framed seat with cushioning around the seat top and adjustable straps. For added safety, the springs are fully enclosed. It attaches to any standard door frame with at least a half inch trim.
This jumper is designed for babies up to 24 pounds and you can choose from three patterned fabrics. The Bumbly pattern has bright, bold colors like aqua and spring green with a circular geographic pattern under bee characters. For a more feminine look, the Mariana pattern has black and white flowers with pink accents. The Owl pattern has navy blue, spring green, grays and light blues with an all over owl cartoon print. Care.com lists the Johnny Jump Up as one of their Top 5 Jumpers.
Graco Bumper Jumper
Graco's Bumper Jumper is another excellent option. This jumper features a small plastic tray on the front that wraps around the seat to hold toys and help protect baby from bumping into other objects. It also includes a hidden safety cord, no-mark clamp, non-twist straps, and a machine washable seat pad. This Bear Trail pattern showcases pastel green and gray with a cartoon bear in the woods scene. The jumper comes with two hanging toy straps for under $40. The Bumper Jumper is also available in the Little Jungle or Stratus patterns.
Similar to an ExerSaucer, activity jumpers consist of a stand-alone frame holding a seat, tray, and toys for baby. The tray/seat piece is held to the frame with an elastic cord so baby can jump up and down along with his toys. They are a great option because they restrict baby's movement a bit, creating a safer toy and there is lots of space for toys to keep baby entertained.
However, be forewarned that these jumpers take up a lot of space, and they are not easy to move around or store.
Fisher Price's Luv U Zoo Jumperoo
Fisher Price's Luv U Zoo Jumperoo is a well-loved jumping activity center. For just under $100, this all-in-one baby entertainment system features a spinning inner seat, sounds, and lights when baby jumps, and three height options. Made from a steel frame with soft spring covers, this jumper is sturdy and safe. Each seat comes with a machine-washable seat pad and built-in toys. Bright colors and zoo animals cover the jumper that stands 30 x 30 x 60 inches.
Evenflo ExerSaucer Jump and Learn Jam Activity Center
Parents looking for a jumper offering several movement options for baby will love the Jump and Learn Jam Activity Center from Evenflo. While baby stands in the fabric seat he can rock, jump or spin around thanks to the innovative design of the seat and base. This freestanding activity jumper is recommended for babies from 4 to 12 months old and includes several toys with music from different genres. While this seat features fabric-covered elastic cords to help with jumping, it looks different from others because of the attached foot plate and thicker frame. The color scheme for this style is white, gray, aqua and yellow with red accents, and it sells for just under $130. The Jump and Learn Jam Activity Center has a four-and-a-half star rating and can be found at Target.
Similar to the doorway jumper, a stand-alone jumper suspends baby in a seat from a bungee cord using a frame system. In this case, you don't need a door frame to hang the jumper on because it comes with a frame. The harness style seat doesn't usually include a tray or any area for toys, but the small frame does restrict baby's movement more than a doorway jumper. It's free-standing design also means you can keep baby near you while she is jumping.
However, it's not that easy to move around as it's a bit on the bulky side and there is no place for toys or extra entertainment.
Those with a bigger budget and a smaller living space will love the Jolly Jumper with Stand. Its sturdy frame stands 52 inches tall and 50 x 43 inches at the base. An adjustable height saddle seat is scientifically designed to give baby spine support while he jumps or stands. For about $80, babies up to 28 pounds can have fun while parents get perks like a collapsible frame for easy storage. This model comes with a white metal frame and solid black seat. Out of more than 400 customer reviews, the Jolly Jumper gets an outstanding 4.4 out of 5 stars thanks to the ease of assembly and storage along with the sturdy frame and seat structure.
Jolly Jumper With Super Stand
Featuring a black, triangular shaped frame, the Jolly Jumper With Super Stand promises more bounce and an extra tall frame. This model sells for just under $140 and folds flat for easier storage, assembly and portability. The saddle-style seat attaches to a bar via four wide straps, then the bar is attached to an adjustable cord and chain which hangs from the center of the frame. With a max weight of 28 pounds, this jumper is great for babies up through about the time they start to walk. Customers give this style nearly 5 out of 5 stars and, despite its bulkiness, still love the jumper because it is easy to fold up and babies love the extra bounciness.
According to the Consumer Safety Product Commission, about 70,000 children under age five are treated in emergency rooms every year for injuries related to nursery products. While most of these injuries are associated with cribs, carriers, strollers, and high chairs, just over 3,000 injuries in 2015 were associated with baby walkers and jumpers. These injuries include lacerations, pinched fingers, head injuries, neck injuries, issues with physical development, and facial injuries. However, this doesn't mean you can't use a jumper at all.
Medical experts suggest jumpers can be used, but with limits. A jumper provides great entertainment for a baby, but can also put stress on hip joints because of the fabric seats. Time limits of 10-15 minutes one or two times a day are recommended. Doorway jumpers pose more safety risks because the cord can break, your baby can move from side to side with the potential to bump into things like the doorway, and the extra weight of baby's head compared to her body can cause neck injuries with too much forceful swinging. In addition to these concerns, baby products get recalled annually due to defects or reported injuries.
Baby jumpers have been recalled in recent years for several reasons. The Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper was recalled in 2013 because of over 100 reports that one of the stationary toys rebounded with too much force and could injure a baby. Other reasons for recall include toy attachments that detach posing a choking hazard, unsafe clamps on doorway jumpers, use of lead paint, and choking hazards with toys on long straps.
Check Your Jumper
Make sure your jumper meets current guidelines with no recalls by using the Toy and Product Recall Finder. To see a list of all current recalls in any retail category, check out the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalls or call their consumer hotline at 1-800-638-2772.
Tips for Safe Jumper Use
When built, installed, and used properly, a baby jumper can be a safe, fun experience. Follow all manufacturer instructions for assembly and do not use the product if you can't install or assemble it correctly for any reason. Other tips to remember when using jumpers are:
- Place the jumper in an unobstructed area.
- Keep jumpers away from stairs and other dangerous areas.
- Keep baby in your sight while jumping, never leave baby unattended.
- Make sure harness straps are tight enough to hold your baby in without restricting.
Benefits for Baby
While it may seem like the use of a jumper could enhance your baby's muscle development, there is no research to support this idea. Doctors do suggest jumpers can be used with babies of an appropriate age and ability level for very limited time frames. Great things about jumpers include:
- Chance for baby to gain a new perspective on the world
- Break for caregivers where the baby will be entertained and safe (when the jumper is used correctly)
- Way for baby to expend some energy
- Provide a variety of activities
Once you've decided which style works best for your family, you are ready to get shopping. When you shop for a baby jumper there are several features you'll want to look for to make your life easier and baby more comfortable.
- Removable, washable seat
- Sturdy construction materials
- Directions for installation
- Appropriate weight limit for your child
- Height adjustment options
- Multiple elastic straps
- Padded seat
Jump for Joy
Baby jumpers offer active entertainment for babies and an easy break for caregivers. Give your baby the opportunity for fun within a safe environment when you research and choose the right jumper for your family.