Babies often love spending time in an infant swing; new parents enjoy being able to put their little one in a swing where he can be entertained while they get some chores done. These swings, which feature a hanging seat held up by a frame, are usually powered by a battery and sometimes have added features such as music or hanging toys for the baby to play with. However, parents should be aware of some safety concerns with infant swings before using one. As long as these issues are addressed, infant swings are generally considered safe for babies.
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Choosing a Swing
When choosing an infant swing, parents should always purchase a newer model, not one of the older wind-up varieties, which do not follow the safety standards of today. Be aware of any product recalls, since dangerous defects might have been discovered on particular models after manufacture.
A safe infant swing should always have a safety harness to hold the baby into the swing. There are a few kinds, including three-point and five-point harnesses. A three-point harness buckles the baby at the waist to a flap that comes up between his legs. A five-point harness, which adds over-the-shoulder straps, is an even safer option.
Where you choose to place the swing can be a safety concern. Swings should always be set on the floor, not on an elevated surface; raising the swing increases the risk that it might topple over and hurt the baby. The swing should also be kept in an area where it is easy for an adult to watch the baby as he swings. Parents should never leave a baby swinging unattended.
Pay attention to the age or size requirements of the swing you buy. Most infant swings are appropriate for babies under 25 to 30 pounds. Larger babies can fall out of the swing because the safety harness will no longer fit them. Swings are also inappropriate for babies old enough to wiggle or climb out, no matter what size. If your infant starts to exhibit this behavior, you should discontinue using the swing.
Be careful when putting a newborn in a swing. Swings appropriate for babies who haven't yet developed good neck control should have the option of reclining so that the child's head doesn't flop down and block his airway. If the baby's chin is pressed against his chest, he may become unable to breathe and suffocate.