Nothing is cuter than a bouncing baby boy, but if that baby is bouncing in a jumper, his development may be hampered. Baby jumpers are designed to allow a baby to bounce by using his toes to push off from the ground -- a motion that delights most babies. Unfortunately, it is not in your baby's best interest to let him use a jumper, as they can negatively affect development and pose a safety hazard.
Types of Jumpers
Infant jumpers come in three forms. The first attaches to a door frame and features a soft sling-shaped seat suspended by straps that attach to one big spring. The second type of jumper is stationary -- it has its own frame that features a suspended seat that hangs from two or four fabric-covered springs. The third type of jumper is a stationary jumper where the seat sits on springs rather than being suspended from them. Although the latter two are safer than the former, they all pose a development risk to the baby.
Baby jumpers are fun, but they are not beneficial in any way. In fact, they promote movement that is detrimental to the motor skills your baby needs to be developing, according to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. First of all, babies aren't mature enough to control their own body movements when they are bouncing quickly. This is especially true when it comes to leg and trunk control. The position of the baby in the sling is also a problem, as baby's weight is supported by the hips, the crotch and under the arms. This pushes the baby forward instead of upright. Because of these factors, babies who often use jumpers may experience developmental problems when it comes to proper posture, and leg and trunk control. In addition, because jumpers are designed to be propelled by pushing off with the toes, infants who use baby jumpers often will get used to pointing their toes. This, plus the posture problems, can delay walking skills.
Infant jumpers affect a baby's development, but they can pose a safety risk as well. Most injuries -- including head injuries -- come from mechanical failure. Frame-mounted jumpers are considered to be the most dangerous type of baby jumper, because not only is there a danger of the attachment slipping off the frame, but the baby might careen into the sides of the doorway, or forward or backward into other nearby objects. Any jumper that has springs has the potential for a baby's fingers to become trapped in them, and a baby can slip out of a jumper's seat if they are not securely strapped in.
Instead of putting your baby in a jumper, put her on the floor on her tummy. Tummy time is essential for developing strong trunk and leg muscles. In fact, just simply putting your baby on the floor and letting her learn to control her movements as she explores is the best type of playtime you can give her, according to EarlyInterventionSupport.com.
- Rady Children's Hospital San Diego: Physical Therapy -- Frequently Asked Questions
- Product Safety Australia: Baby Exercise Jumpers
- Early Intervention Support.com: Walkers, Exersaucers & Jumpers -- Is There an Impact on a Baby's Development?
- West Family Chiropratic: Babies First -- Keeping Them Safe
- Consumer Reports: Baby Jumper Buying Guide