Safety Tips for Baby Equipment

There’s no end to the kinds of equipment that make the job of parenting easier. Some do help, some don’t, and a few are downright dangerous.

Here are tips on several pieces of equipment:

  • Mechanical swings with a seat in which you can safely strap your baby can be soothing and allow you a few hands-free moments. If you buy one, make sure that it is safety-approved and is a model that stands firmly on the floor, rather than one that hangs from a doorframe. Try not to use it—or any substitute for your arms and attention—for more than 30 minutes, twice a day.
  • Playpens are useful for parents of crawling babies. While your baby needs to explore his world and should not be in a playpen all day, it is a good idea to have a protected place, away from siblings, pets and household dangers, where he can play safely when necessary.
  • Baby “walkers, which let a baby move around in an upright position before he has even learned to crawl, are neither safe nor helpful. They develop the wrong muscles at the wrong time and don’t allow your baby to learn from crawling. In fact, they can actually delay real walking! They also pose serious safety hazards as they can tip over, fall down stairs and allow babies to reach objects they otherwise could not.

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly urges parents not to use walkers. Baby “rockers,” which let babies sit in a seat surrounded by a surface with interesting objects, but do not allow them to move across the floor with their feet, are fine. If you use one, be sure to give your baby plenty of stomach time, too, so she’ll push up and develop the gross motor skills she’ll need to learn to crawl. 

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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